Check out this story about how folks out there are trying to make this sport even better than it already is.
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Check out this story about how folks out there are trying to make this sport even better than it already is.
I've know Eric "E" Barber since 1999 when I met him while attending UW-Whitewater. He is a great leader and even more than that he is a great person. Take a listen to hear what he has to say about the London Paralympics and what winning that second Bronze medal meant to him. He will also let us know what his plans are this year as far as basketball goes. Sure would be cool to play with such a great guy.
Enjoy my interview with E.
Coach Glatch is one of those coaches who is not afraid to say what he feels and I love that about him. He helped the USA Men's wheelchair basketball team win Bronze at the 2012 London Paralympics. His staff did a great job in that Bronze medal game and he got the best out of the guys who were on that team. I had the chance to talk with Coach Glatch and we played word association and of course talked about the game that brought a medal to the USA for the first time since 2000. I sure hope you enjoy my interview as much as I did doing it.
I read in a Facebook post that legend Randy Snow called him Pele'. I will call him Nick Taylor cause his name stands alone as well in the world of wheelchair tennis. Nick talks about his matches in both singles and doubles. In doubles he and his partner David Wagner win back to back to back Gold. Nick also talks about his time in London. We also talk about the coverage of the Paralympics here in the USA. Please enjoy my conversation with Nick Taylor member of the Quad USA wheelchair tennis team.
In this interview Mackenzie talks about letting people down. That is how much she appreciates both sports that she excels in. Let me tell you all, she could never let me down as she has proved she can do whatever she sets her mind to. You will hear all about it in my interview with her.
Check it out and Congrats Mackenzie on being a Paralympian!
Wheels in Motion nation you are familiar with this guy. He is known as the Inspirational Archer and did a great job in his first Paralympics with a Silver Medal. We talk about that ride and also Matt Stutzman talks about how the USA needs to come around on it's coverage of disabled sports. Please enjoy my talk with Matt Stutzman, Sliver Medalist of the 2012 London Paralympics.
14 years in the making. All the hard work comes to a head with a win at the 2012 Paralympics against the best Italy had to offer up. He made all those who know him and support him proud as can be. Here is my conversation with Bryan Barten member of the USA Quad wheelchair tennis team. Hope you enjoy!
Hey Wheels in Motion Nation, check out this story by clicking here. This is a great honor for Nick Taylor and David Wagner. They are members of the USA Quad wheelchair tennis team coming off their gold medal in doubles. Congrats from Wheels in Motion fellas you are awesome.
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I first want to apologize for my tardiness on writing this but sometimes there just isn't enough time in a day. I have a moment so let me tell you what our Quads did on the tennis court at the 2012 Paralympics.
First of all the three members of the USA Quad wheelchair tennis team were awesome. Let us start with Bryan Barten. Bryan has been on a big stage before with being a member of the USA World Cup team before but this was his dream. The Paralympics! Bryan did great winning his first match at the Paralymics against Marco Innocenti 6-3/6-4. It was all over Facebook and of course we let you know about it right here on Wheels in Motion. Then Bryan faced a guy who was on a mission, Noam Gershony of Israel. Bryan lost that match 1-6/1-6, but the rest of the story on this match, Noam ended up winning the gold medal for Israel. That loss however doesn't reflect the great year he had. Bryan would tell you that he had his best year, if not his best last two years on the tour. Bryan Barten made the whole quad tennis community stop and take notice. Bryan did this well while being the coach for the University of Arizona wheelchair tennis team. I know Bryan and if there was ever a guy who deserved this moment on this stage, it was him. I don't know where Bryan will be in three years when Brazil comes up but I can tell you this he was on a stage that was rightfully earned. To my mentor in wheelchair tennis, GREAT JOB B!
Now for the other two members of the Quad team. Nick Taylor and David Wagner. Just saying their names is a statement all on its own. Let’s take a look at what they did individually and then later what they did together. Let’s start with Nick.
Nick Taylor even though many doubts keeps on winning and putting on a great show on the biggest of stages. Nick in his first round of play went against Shota Kawano of Japan and won 6-1/7-5. This put Nick into the Quarterfinals where he faced a familiar opponent in Anders Hard of Sweden, where he took Nick to three sets but Nick was victorious 6-4/4-6/6-1. That win put Nick into the Semifinals where he faced a guy he knows all too well, David Wagner, his doubles partner. As Nick said he just knows all to well how to take advantage of my weaknesses. Nick lost 2-6/1-6. But that loss put Nick into the Bronze medal match where he faced Shraga Weinberg of Israel. Nick again pushed to the limits, but as Nick does he found a way after losing the first set 1-6 to propel himself to the win in three sets, winning the next two sets, 6-3/6-4. So to proudly say Nick Taylor won himself a Bronze medal. Congrats Nick!!
Then we get to the number one quad in the USA and the World, David Wagner. Wagner started with a match that more than likely surprised him. A tough opponent in Lucas Sithole from South Africa was waiting for Wagner in the first round of play. Wagner cruised through the first set with a 6-2 win. However the South African came at him in the second set and pushed Wagner, however even with Sithole playing Wagner tough, Wagner came away with a 7-5 win in the second set to send him to the Quarter-Finals. In the Quarter finals, Wagner faced Boaz Kramer of Israel and Wagner made quick work of his opponent winning in straight sets, 6-3/6-0. This win put him in the Semi-finals against an opponent he knows better than anyone, his doubles Partner Nick Taylor of the USA, if you read the above on Nick you know the outcome, but just incase you missed the score, it was Wagner in straight sets, 6-2/6-1. This win put Wagner in the Finals of the 2012 Paralympics. Wagner faced a man on a mission in Noam Gershony of Israel. It was Wagner’s hope to win a Gold in singles but Gershony denied him that Gold as Wagner lost in straight sets, 3-6/1-6. But still the number one player in the world ended his singles campaign with a Silver medal. Great job Wags.
As play indicated these three guys did great in singles and ended the Paralympics with a Silver and Bronze medal for the USA.
Let’s get to doubles now. It was suppose to end the way it did for the USA or least it ended the way the USA had hoped. Taylor and Wagner going into the Paralympics were the best in the world and getting that bye into the Semi-Finals proved that. In the Semi-finals they faced a team from Israel that is fastly becoming one of the best but to be the best you have to beat them however team Israel made up of Gershony and Weinberg were not good enough on this day to take the kings down, Taylor and Wagner beat them, 6-3/7-6. This put them in the finals against the very next best team in the world from host country GBR, Lapthorne and Norfolk. Taylor and Wagner came out fast winning the first set, 6-2. However Lapthorne and Norfolk were not going to go down without fight and they win the second set, 5-7. So the Gold medal match would come down to the final set, which it should have. Taylor and Wagner were just too much for Lapthorne and Norfolk to overcome and not even the home crowd could help their doubles team to a victory. Taylor and Wagner win the third set in convincing style 6-2. Taylor and Wagner win Gold. They not only win Gold, but they set a mark that may never be matched. They won back to back to back Gold medals. I believe this picture shows just how much this win meant to both of them.
From Wheels in Motion, congratulations on winning three Gold Medals in a row.
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.
As I mentioned in my last post, they play two halves. Well without sounding too negative, the USA women forgot how to play a second half of the Bronze medal game. I know some will think that I am beating up on these ladies while they are down but as someone with a disabled sports blog this is part of what the wheelchair sporting community can come to expect. I played, never at this level however basketball is basketball. I don’t know if it was the loss to Germany, the loss to Australia but the USA women’s wheelchair basketball team lost something in those loses. I don’t know if they lost their confidence, ability to communicate, ability to switch on defense, the ability to shoot ( no offense Becca Murray) but there was something missing. Now if they could have played the whole game as they did in the first six minutes on the game, this game would have came down to the buzzer or the USA would have won by 12. They came out strong but I believe they forgot that the Netherlands wanted that Bronze medal just as bad. Let’s give the Netherlands their due. Three names I will give you that made a difference in this game being close or a win for the USA….Oosterman, Korver, and of course the lady who couldn’t be stopped from the tip of the ball, #4 for the Netherlands, Huitzing. Huitzing put on a performance that won’t soon be forgotten. But as I say that there were defensive mistakes that even a novice player would have taken advantage of. The USA defense did jump her, the USA defense didn’t go over the screen to at least make her think there would be someone coming from anywhere to contest her shot. After the Netherlands would miss a shot I saw a lot of sitting around. Almost looked like shock had taken over the team and they were mesmerized by what the Netherlands were doing. The Netherlands learned something from the games the USA played during the 2012 Paralympics and they implemented them to a T. USA obviously hates being pressured, they pressured them, USA although not usually don’t mind playing from behind but not even this great team could come back from less than 40% shooting and how many times can these ladies come from being down and playing in close games stay with a team that was shooting out of their minds…they couldn’t. Shot s were flat and as I mentioned lots of sitting around. I have to say just one thing about the coaching staff of this USA women’s team…it’s easy to say you know but the trick is getting results. There was actually only one move I kept yelling at the computer screen about, take Nichols out there was something wrong with her today. Maybe a breather would have cleared her mind and she would have been a bit more productive on both offense and defense. I don’t put this loss directly on the shoulders of the coaches but let me say, as a coach the buck stops with you. Overall this staff is too smart to let these ladies hang out there like they did. I know one of the coaches personally and another one on his legend status and what I saw today wasn’t the staff’s best effort. This USA team has a lot to think about over the next few weeks and no I don’t need to mention them. In life you either learn from your mistakes or you just end up being a stat. My guess is the stat of 4th place at the 2012 Paralympics will be learned from. But let me end with this…there was elephant sized pressure for these ladies to win a gold medal three times in a row. For any team able bodied or disabled, it’s like climbing Mt. Everest. I am proud of the USA women’s wheelchair basketball team and will admire those who make the team as players and coaches. However if we want to take the next step on getting the word out we have to embrace failure as well and build on that.
Next up the Men’s chance at a Bronze, let us hope that Coach Glatch and his staff learned from the women…don’t play about 8 minutes of a 40 minute game. Till we meet again on Wheels in Motion…have a great one and thanks for visiting Wheels in Motion.