So it has taken me a few days to think about what I wanted to write when it comes the USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team winning the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympics. Why you may ask? Great question. Was I a bit taken back at the way they played? Was I overwhelmed at the way they were coached? Was I snake bit by the disappointment I felt just a day before and put everything into what I wrote about the women?
I guess it’s all of them put together in some sort of puzzle in my mind. I think it was the coaching, they subbed great, called timely timeouts. They played the right guys at the right time and didn’t care if it meant someone who had played the whole tournament didn’t play as much. They showed that with a team one goal can be achieved. Was it the ultimate goal…of course not but medaling in the Paralympics, which the USA Men haven’t done since, 2000…is something to write home about.
I could go on and on about each individual but I will treat this blog like they did that game, no one person is more important than the goal of winning that Bronze medal game. So instead I will take a moment to just say thank you to Coach Glatch and his staff and of course the team they put together.
I am not sure why my brain decided that on this 11th anniversary of 9/11 I finally figured out how I wanted to write this blog on the USA Men’s wheelchair basketball team. But then again why does anything happen when it does. This Paralympic year showed us plenty. It showed us that the best teams on paper don’t always finish first but it’s the teams who remember why they are there and don’t forget that every team/player there wants the same thing, its the player or team that will come out of those games with a medal. This USA Men’s team will be remembered by those who follow wheelchair basketball or not, forever because they medaled.
I will remember them for the conversations I had with some of them right before they left for London. I will remember the conversation with Opie on what it meant to him to be a member of the USA Men’s wheelchair basketball team. Eric Barber, the talk we had just a few days before he left in Chicago. I will remember my interview with Coach Glatch as we talked about the games coming up and the pressure he understood. As hard as I was on the Women, let me tell you that talking with Becca Murray and hearing the genuine excitement, talking with Coach Dan Price, just days before they left…ummm Coach Price still want that swag bro…I have known Coach Price for years and the look in his eye talking about the team and their goal was nothing I had ever seen before. Of course talking with the Legend, David Kiley was an interview I will never loose. He was candid, confident, humble and excited talking about his opportunity to be the Head Coach of the USA women’s team. There are more but my point is with both the Men’s and Women’s teams. They are ours. They are people that down the road will be remembered, good or bad, remembered. It is the life of an athlete and coach that you learn and keep learning from your mistakes. Both the Men and Women teams I hope the best for your future as a team, but always keep learning.
I have a few more things to say about the Paralympics. Come back and see what I have to say about a few guys who did something special in wheelchair tennis and of course my new friend the Inspirational Archer and just how inspirational he is. Till we meet again, thanks for reading Wheels in Motion.