Friday, March 20, 2009

National Wheelchair Basketball Championships, Denver CO, March 18-21

Due to the start of our first annual kids ski camp this weekend, we had to cut our wheelchair March madness short and catch only two of the four days packed with b-ball games of all divisions, sex, and ages. Thursday we saw the bracket break down quick; the Arizona girls creamed our Denver Nuggets, but double elimination kept them alive until later that night. The mens' league were big, tough, and downright nasty; the toughest matchup we saw Heat-Thunder.

Friday brought no less excitement or talent with the junior leagues squaring off for some intense basketball as well. Word on the courts was that the Dallas teams were going to be the ones to beat... we'll see!

We were incredibly dismayed to skip out on the finals, so you can guarantee we'll be down there next year for the excitement as well. Our GADA Belts were a hit, and we found that this event was the most comprehensive brainstorming session we've had, with hundreds of types and sizes of chairs to look at for additional designs; we hope to have those ready soon!

Wheelchair Basketball has been around since Tim Nugent (in photo with Craig and former NBA Nuggets coach Bill Hanzlik) founded the NWBA in the mid-1940s. This was the largest representation of teams in their 61-year history at the National Championships, with 82 teams all under (mostly) one roof at the new Gold Crown Complex off Alameda and Sheridan. In the past, the event was split into several locations. This year only a few Thursday adult games were played at the Metro College Arena while the junior bracket was played.

In addition to the intense, great games we were able to see, the highlight of our two days at this event was meeting Mr Nugent himself, who has been present at every single Championship since its inception. In addition, three Denver Nugget players showed up on Thursday to sign autographs for the juniors, some of who were also being offered recruiting deals from several universities present such as Oklahoma State.

The NWBA is currently revamping and reorganizing its enormous website, but hopes to get video streams up this year from the event. Wheelchair b-ball rules and adaptations can be found on their site as well if you're intrigued!

We have posted more pictures on Flickr as well.

And now on to our kids camp! What a week!

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