I want to introduce you to an incredible group of young athletes. They are the young men and women of the WDSRA Windy City Warriors. You won’t see them running up a court or down a field as their peers do. Due to a disability, typical sports are not something in which these middle school and high school athletes can participate.
However they can all play wheelchair sports as a Windy City Warrior wheelchair basketball athlete. Though their disability may not necessarily confine them to a wheelchair, they have found that wheelchair sports allow them to compete without the limitations of their disability. Wheelchair basketball is available for anyone with a permanent lower extremity impairment. Participants with hip, knee or any other lower body impairment are eligible for wheelchair basketball.
These young men and women, and those that came before them, are truly inspirational. Rather than focusing on what they cannot accomplish, they have built a team of champions and a legacy that has lasted for almost a decade. The Warriors are currently ranked third in the nation and have won the IHSA Wheelchair Basketball Championship an amazing eight out of the last nine years. In fact, several past Windy City Warriors athletes have received scholarships to continue their playing career at the college level.
But what they want most of all, is a national championship. They know that to be a successful team takes practice, time and dedication by the players, coaches and parents. Their season runs from September through April like most basketball programs. Unlike those programs though, the majority of games are regional rather than local. With so few teams in Illinois, almost every game requires two to three days of out-of-state travel. They are committed and more than that, determined, to making this year the year they bring home a national championship.
On Feb. 1 and 2, teams from all over the Midwest will be rolling into the Fountain View Recreation Center in Carol Stream as the Warriors host a fast-paced, action packed wheelchair basketball tournament. The competition at the February Classic is certain to be intense and unlike anything you have ever experieinced.
We invite you to see for yourself the athleticism, power and skill of wheelchair basketball. Join us Feb. 1 and 2 as these young athletes take the courts. For more details on the tournament or to learn how you can support the team, call Becky Prince, WDSRA athletics manager, at 630-681-0962 or visit www.wdsra.com.
Sandy Gbur is the executive director of the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association.