The BC Winter Games round robin wheelchair basketball tournament began on Friday at Heritage Park Secondary, and Thompson-Okanagan (Zone 2) beat Cariboo-North East (Zone 8) by a score of 22-6.
Wheelchair basketball, explained by Arley Mcneney to be a sport for both able-bodied and disabled players, is, in Canada, played using FIBA rules with only slight modifications.
Throughout the game, both teams sped through the gymnasium with outstanding demonstrations of camaraderie and skill; Zone 2, managed by Shannon Mazereeuw, ending the game with not only a great score, but also a heart-warming display of friendship. After the game, and between periods, the friendship proved to continue off the court. All players were helping each other in whatever way they could. From leading group warm-ups and providing tips, to giving the fellow teammate a little extra nudge to get over the slight door rise, the friendly bond within the team is clear.
Standout players and off-the-court pals Alec Kendall and Riley Martin demonstrated impressive efforts. Executing tough plays, they helped their team win the well-maneuvered game. Although, as a team, they hadn’t practiced much together, 20-year-old Kendall stated that they were “doing a really good job.”
Both players started playing wheelchair basketball due to their desire to begin playing team sports again. Martin, age 21, said that “it was a nice way to get back into a team setting after [his] injury.”
Marni Abbot-Peter, team coach said that the Thompson Okanogan group has “got a variety of skill levels and of experience.” One girl was even playing a game for the first time. Later, she noted that “this group in particular works really well as a team […] [and] they just do a great job as a team.”
The team coach was a lucky catch. A former Paralympic gold medalist, and head coach of the wheelchair basketball BC Canada Games team, the well-accomplished coach had lots to offer. However, the success of the team cannot be pinned on any one player, or even on all of the players as a whole. Everyone, coach and manager included, contributed to the team’s win. None would have been as successful as individuals. Success should be measured through how efficiently the team works to gain their score, not just by the score itself. Taking this into account, both teams have earned a heaping success.
– Student journalist Emeralde O'Donnell, Robert Bateman Secondary School