An ecstatic Marius Papenfus captained his amazing Altech Autopage Bladerunners to an action packed 71-57 victory over the Discovery Eagles in the final game of the SuperSport Wheelchair Basketball Series held at Mandeville. In the semi-finals Ricoh Pumas had AngloGold Ashanti Lions licking their wounds as they went down 48 - 57.
Rolling’s Andy Scott received a lifetime acheivement award from SuperSport’s Arnold Geerdts who again hosted the event. Arnold shared his thoughts on the sport with us.
‘In Tom McNab’s epic book, Flanagan’s Run, one of the characters is running and he thinks to himself: “Here I am. This is what I do. I run. This is what makes me different.”
Go to a wheelchair basketball match and you’ll see those 16 glorious words personified. You’ll see men straining with every sinew in their bodies. Reaching further than gravity would grudgingly allow. Defying the very air that we breathe, piercing it with grace and accuracy. Anticipating. Thinking. Grinding. Grafting. Then you’ll understand McNab’s words. That’s what these men have taught me in the last dozen years as I’ve talked to them and watched them play in their chairs. Watched them win and lose. They are different. And no, empatically NO! Their disability has no bearing on this different-ness of theirs. They are apart from most of us, despite their missing limbs. They are apart from the biggest slice of the world population not because of what they lack - but what they HAVE.
They have an unbending spirit for what God and life has placed on their path. A steel-strong ram-rod of livewire determination to overcome against all odds. No, against overwhelming odds. You cannot help but wonder, when you see these magnificent athletes, who do not so much sit in their chairs as fly in them: “What would I do?”
And there-in surely is the lesson. What would my response in that position? I don’t know. I would like to think that I would be “kick-ass brave” and do what these men do. But until you’ve faced those demons, how will you ever truly know?
I admire these gladiators of the court. No change that...these gladiators of life. For it is they who make one see that anything is indeed possible. That phrase is not just some glib advertising executive’s pay-off line for selling sports apparel.
If you ever have the privilege of listening to the encapsulated waves of never ending sound, walls of solid court side encouragement that harries your ear drums. The scream of rubber on wood. Hollers of ”Here! I’m open! Pass!!!” The bouce of the ball. The shrill whistle. Then you’ll be forever changed. Changed as they once were.
You’ll withstand any situation and say: “Here I am. This is what I do. I do this. This is what makes me different”.’