I have been invited before, but January 18th was the first day I took up the offer to play.
First I met Mary, a wonderful lady that is the main organizer of the drop in wheelchair basketball. She was very warm and welcoming, which helped to calm my nerves.
The chairs were late to arrive, so Mary has us play a modified basketball game. The floor was divided into 3 columns, the more skilled players stayed on the outside two columns where those who were less skilled remained in the middle. This was a great modification, it changed the way we strategized how to play and allowed others more opportunities to play.
At last the chairs arrived and everyone suited up. I sat in my chair, strapped in and began to get comfortable moving around. I had no previous experience in a wheelchair so I knew it would take the whole game to get use to moving around. No one else needed time to get comfortable. Everyone else were seasoned pros, moving with ease and speed up and down the court.
Next came ball handling. We are allowed to bounce the ball once and push the chair twice in order to move. This sounds simple enough but it is tricky to perfect, and harder still when there are five opponents coming after you.
My first game really was just to get my feet wet. I wish I could explain more of the rules, and strategies to play the game, but I still have a lot to learn before I can do that.
The challenge to try something new is what made the experience enjoyable. This game is easy for anyone to try, the people who come to play are nice, motivating and patient to explain the game.
Everyone should try this game once, you'll be hooked to play.
Drop-In Wheelchair Basketball is offered at the YMCA every Wednesday from 7:00-9:00.
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