For those not familiar with wheelchair basketball, it’s not what you may think. It’s fast, furious, and just as chaotic as the NBA.
“It is a fast-action, fast-paced game!” says Team Captain Teddy Alvis.
And just like any other sport, it is taken very seriously. These players give it their all.
“It was our first tournament and we’re doing good, like there are a lot of little things we’ve got to clean up, but I’m proud of everybody, everybody is playing hard and pushing hard,” says Anthony McDaniel.
It takes skill and extreme maneuvering to dribble the ball and control a wheelchair, making split second turns and stops.
“The way I describe it, it’s like rugby in a wheelchair. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of effort to learn it, the chair becomes part of your body. So, once you learn the chair, you learn how to operate it, everything else just becomes out of sight, out of mind, put the ball in the hole!” says Alvis.
But despite the competition, everyone looked like they were having a great time.
“The crowd helped us out, the crowd supported us, so we fed off them and made it happen!” says McDaniel.
Anthony McDaniel is one of three veterans on the team. He was injured overseas, receiving the Purple Heart.
“I was in the Marines from 2007 to 2012 and I got injured in Afghanistan in 2010, so maybe about six months after that I waited on my unit to get back and got my Purple Heart, did my rehab and started playing basketball.”
The game was definitely a nail-biter. Nearly the whole game, the Patriots were behind, but they picked up the pace in the second half, closing the gap in the final five minutes. 10 seconds to go, a foul lead to two free-throws by number three. He made one, which was enough to put the Patriots up by one point. Running out the clock, the Patriots win it 53 to 52.
“This team, it took 100% effort, everybody’s been putting a lot of time and energy and we came out on top,” says Alvis.
This was a special game for folks here at News 5 because players hit the court today in honor of our friend, Katie Hammond who was a producer with us when she was diagnosed with cancer. She is still battling cancer today and players told us they thought of her today and we thank them for that. The team is a 501-C3 and they need all the financial support they can get. If you would like to learn more about how to help, contact Stephenie Jeansonne at 251-554-1932, or Scott Janik at 251-554-1440.