THE GAME IS ON!
Two weeks since I had that discussion and threw down the challenge to The Boy’s sports ed. teacher. https://gemstrong63.com/2020/01/08/the-boy-and-disability-discrimination-at-school/
I provided the school with 5 basketball chairs and three brand new regulation basketballs so they could practise using the wheelchairs and bouncing the ball. Mr Ignorant thinks this is all the boy really does when playing wheelchair basketball. It’s not a proper sport is it? so it should be real easy for the teachers to master a simple push and bounce.
Saturday came around and I was at the school with our regional squad of under 15’s and their assistant coach who had very kindly agreed to attend. They were on the court working through their warm up. Ten kids in all, starting 5 and bench 5. They were all on court going through their paces.
The teachers arrived with their wheelchairs and Mr Ignorant had put himself in charge of his team. He barked orders to his team mates and they all went into a huddle to discuss tactics. For sports teachers, one would have thought they would have realised the importance of warm up. But hey, they were not my concern.
The spectators filled up benches in the viewing stands. The ball hall was full. I think the whole school had turned out to watch this grudge match.
The referees arrived and the score board was set up. I took my seat as the table official and had a representative from the teachers camp sat next to me so I could teach him how to score the game and fill in the score book. The game was ON.
The 15’s team captain went for the tip off, he tipped the ball and caught it and they were off, he left Mr Ignorant spinning aimlessly in the centre court looking for the ball, while the kid passed the ball out to the guard who passed in to the forward who took the shot, hit the back board on the sweet spot and scored! 2 – 0 to the kids.
The teachers caught the rebound and passed the ball out to the centre court player who missed it, our back court player marking him scooped the loose ball on his wheel and he was off down the court again, passed out to the guard, back into the boy and the shot was up as a teacher careened into the back of his chair. The whistle blew, foul called on player number 3 from teacher team, as the whistle blew, the basket landed, basket was good 2 points to the kids, 4-0. The boy is on the free throw line. He has two shots to come, he positions his chair, he takes a breath, he squares his shot, the ball is up and SWISH the ball is all net, no backboard required. 5-0 to the kids. Second shot to come. The boy positions, takes a breath, aims, shoots and hits the sweet spot on the back board. Ball does a victory roll around the rim and dives through the hole. 6-0 in just under 2 minutes of game time.
The ball is out on the end line, the teacher throws in, they get the ball and move down the court at 5 mph, the sneaky little kid guard, nips up along side the teacher and swats the ball from his hand and spins, catches the ball and heads off back down the court where there is no defence waiting to protect the teachers basket.
The teachers are sweating profusely by now, a meer 3 minutes into the game. They are struggling to push the chair, bounce the ball and keep it out of the hands of the opposition. They pass the ball, the kids intercept it and turn it around.
Fouls are being called against the teachers left, right and centre for 8 second violations, travelling violations (3 pushes of the chair no bounce), contact violations, the teachers are a mess. They are spinning round in circles, they have lost control of their chairs and have no idea who they should be marking because they can’t keep up with the kids.
The kids are constantly communicating with each other in a well practised and precise manner, they are marking their opposition player and they are not letting up the pressure at all. They apply a full court press at every opportunity and get the ball turned over to them so often it becomes embarrassing for the teachers.
The buzzer goes at the end of the first 10 minute quarter, the score is 22 – 0. The kids are taking it easy and pacing themselves.
I could give you complete blow by blow detailed shooting stats, (I still have them) I could give you foul calls against teachers, (I have them). But quite simply this is what happened.
The teachers were hammered by 5 kids, who swapped in and out with their bench players so that all players got a game and every player stayed fresh. They worked the game the way they always work the game, with precision, skill and team mentality.
The teachers fell to pieces within the first 8 minutes of the game. They couldn’t handle the wheelchairs, they pushed the wheels too low on the front of the wheel and leaned forward too far in the chair, this created a rocking motion and slowed them down. If they had observed the kids for even a second they would have seen them sit up straight, put their hand to the top rear of the wheel and pull down once using their bodies to direct the chair as it moved, they would bounce the ball with the other hand while their chair coasted at speed down the court. Two pushes one bounce.
It is a beautiful game. It is a sight to behold when players who train together constantly, play together like a well oiled machine.
The final whistle blew on the 4th quarter and the score was 78 – 2
The kids allowed the teachers to get a score on the board out of a sense of fair play.
The teachers did not use their bench players, they were still sat there fresh as daisies, the starting 5 remained on court the whole 40 minutes. Mr Ignorant was no long ignorant of the facts. Wheelchair basketball is not the soft option, it is a much more highly skilled game than people realised and he could not play it and could not compete at the kids level. He was less than a novice.
Never underestimate a disabled person’s ability. It will cost you greatly. They are more adept at finding a way of doing things than able bodied people will ever be. The world is designed with able bodied in mind, so the odds are already stacked against the disabled but they get by, they find a way, and in doing that they build up a steely reserve to achieve their goals. This is my Boy’s life, he has a steely determination to achieve the goals he has set himself. One ignorant teacher and a shrugging headmaster would not derail him from his plan.
The sky is the limit.
All photos are stock photos from the internet