International Women’s Day – “Make It Happen”

Make it happen is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day which is today.  IWD is a chance to celebrate the achievements of women as well as calling for equality.

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This time last week I was in Nottingham watching the last weekend of the women’s league and the inaugural all-star game.  I wasn’t officiating, I was a spectator and made a conscious decision to watch the games from the eyes of a spectator.  This was really hard as I am always aware of how a game is officiated in order to improve myself. I was at the venue early and watched some great games of wheelchair basketball, not because they were high scoring or fast paced.  But because the women involved were still playing and had improved from the first week of the women’s league.  I got the chance to chat and catch up with people and I got an overwhelming feeling that the women’s league was an all-inclusive event. Then with just over one hour to set up a show court, the countdown to the first all-star game started.  I didn’t really know what to expect but kept an open mind.  Then I heard the voice and sound of Paralympics 2012 Funkytown Entertainments were the MC’s.  These guys know how to enhance an event and were assisted by the MC from UK School Games, Jay.  As the teams wheeled out and were announced some cheerleaders appeared and then some more appeared, it was a really big squad.  Their routines were really good.

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  At halftime some women from the Nottingham Wildcats club took part in a demonstration game and talked about their club.  They were great hosts for the three weekends.

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  The second half started and it was like someone turned up the volume in the crowd and it was loud!  For more details about the game read about it here.  Team West came out winners and the MVP was Joy Haizelden.

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You can ‘make it happen’ as ‘this girl can’, these campaigns are not just lip service to show females are not as active as they could be. Well done to everyone who took part at all levels.  No matter what shape, size or ability you can be active and involved.   Photos are courtesy of SA Images.

#ThisGirlCan – Women’s League‏

Yesterday I went to Nottingham for the first women’s league of the season.  I have written about the Women’s league before and International Women’s Day read about it here.  This time there was a different vibe in the atmosphere and I can’t put my finger on it.  Maybe it was the venue, different players, or the encouragement and positivity from the crowd.  The age range was varied from teenagers to grandmothers.  The experience included beginners up to current  International players.

It has been documented in Great Britain that girls and women don’t take part in enough exercise and sport.  But a campaign was launched this week which wants to encourage girls and women of all shapes and sizes to be more active.  It is called “This girl can”.  When I first saw this advert I thought wow!  Yesterday when I went to Women’s league I thought the same.  Watch the video and  see what you think.

 

 

We also had some female referees yesterday who are talented up and coming officials.  I think we should be active as much as we can and within the sport of Wheelchair basketball the Women’s league is trying to address this.

My day officiating and observing was summed up when a player said “Thank you for officiating our game, I really appreciate it.
I really appreciate officiating, so thanks to all of the girls and women who played and organise these competitions.

 You can find stats from the weekend’s games here.

Happy New Year – 2015

Hi there!

I do apologise for not posting as much so far this season.  It has been a busy season and I have been officiating for three Wheelchair clubs, The BBL and some junior National League games.  I would like to take this time to thank you for the opportunity to officiate your games.

One of my highlights this year was applying the new rules at the UK School Games tournament, also assessing new officials.  Learning new things like the rule changes is hard for everyone but I think I am getting there.

I would like to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy the rest of your season.  I will be getting ready for the rest of the season and the build up leading to the European Championships in Worcester.  I am hoping to interview some more people involved in Basketball and Wheelchair Basketball.  Also sharing the the officials point of view.

Take care & here is a link to the new rules, it should open as a PDF

Continental Clash 3 – International Wheelchair Basketball Summary

Another tournament has been and gone, I can’t believe this tournament is in it’s third year hosted at the University of Worcester.

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Since the University Arena was opened I have spent a lot time officiating Basketball games at all levels there.  This week showed this venue concerned itself with disability sport and Basketball.  On the first day of the tournament there were two games with Great Britain playing the Netherlands.  In between those two games I tried to get some work done for my day job, which didn’t really work but I did get to see the Great Britain Women’s team from the running game train.  The head coach Peter Buckle spoke with some of the Wheelchair team and this for me was really poignant to show Basketball all under one roof.  There wasn’t any “them and us” attitude between the wheelchair and running game.

The games were spaced out to replicate the large gaps in fixtures Great Britain will encounter whilst at the World Championships.  As always I took my knitting and laptop to fill the time between games and got to know more of the staff from the governing body GBWBA.

The communications team from the University of Worcester who always make time to capture all of the Basketball at the arena have taken more photos.

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Thank you for your usage & click here to see more shots from the showcase game held yesterday.

If you want to look at all of the results and stats from the tournament click here.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish all participating countries the best of luck at the World Championships in Canada & Korea.  Including the NTO’s, ITO’s and organising committees.

Continental Clash 3 – International Wheelchair Basketball

Today is day two of the 3rd Continental Clash tournament held at Worcester University’s arena.

 

Yesterday saw Great Britain play Netherlands.  I officiated one game and assessed an up and coming official.  The first day consisted of two games.  This morning saw Great Britain play the Netherlands again and this afternoon Japan are playing the Netherlands.

For live stats please visit the GBWBA website

Usually I try and take photos whilst I am at these great events but on this occasion the Communications Team from the University of Worcester have kindly given me permission to use their photos.  To see more great moments check out their Facebook page.

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People you meet along the way – Lee Taylor

I was officiating my last wheelchair game of the regular season and a player that I mentioned way back in September 2012 in a previous blog entry took to the floor, his name is Lee Taylor. image Lee has been competing for CBWBA in Coventry for the last two seasons and has improved leaps and bounds.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to ask Lee some questions about himself and his involvement in wheelchair Basketball.

How old are you?

34

What is your classification?

3.0

How did you get involved in Wheelchair Basketball?

The Paralympics in London spurred me on to find a sport to play, so via a search engine on the internet I found my local basketball team contacted the coach and here I am 18 months later.

 

What do you enjoy the most about playing Wheelchair Basketball?

I was very much into football and rugby before I had my disability.  What I enjoy now is being part of a team again.  I look forward to training and enjoy every second of it, even the conditioning drills which are tough. I am really starting to get a love for the game.

 

What is your biggest obstacle when playing Wheelchair Basketball?

At the moment my fitness is, I’m a little larger than I wish to be which obviously slows me down, but I’m working on this.  Part of my disability was the loss of some of my fingers on my right hand and I am right handed, therefore I’m forced to use my left hand to dribble, shoot and catch.  My disability has affected my dominant right hand for 20 years so my left hand is pretty strong for a right handed person.

 

If you could ask a referee or table official anything, what would you ask them?

I generally ask referees when playing why I have been penalised cause I sometime foul but do not realise I have.

 

Is there a player within the game of Wheelchair Basketball you would like to meet, if so who?

In all honesty I have never really watched much basketball and even less wheelchair basketball, so apart from Patrick Anderson (Who I am told is one of if not the best) I do not know any others.  I am very much in awe of the players on the team I play for, there are youngsters who are destined for great things and older experienced players who have so much patience.  Because of these guys I learn something new every time I play so I have a lot of respect for them.

 

What motivates you to keep playing Wheelchair Basketball?

My desire to become a better player, I’m very much a team player.  If I’m on the bench because there is a stronger player on court then I am absolutely fine with that, I do aspire to become that stronger player though.

 

Do you feel your game has improved since you started playing? Certainly, I feel more confident when training and playing but still have a lot to learn but yes I have improved since starting.

 

Has anybody given you any great advice about playing Wheelchair Basketball?

Every time I am in my chair and around my team mates I am constantly getting good advice.

 

What would you say to someone who wants to start playing Wheelchair Basketball but isn’t sure they can?

Go for it!  It’s not easy, it physically and mentally challenging, there are so many things to think about before you even get the ball into a shooting position but what a buzz when you score a basket.

Tri-Nations Cup

This time last week GBWBA hosted the Tri-nations Cup at the University Arena in Worcester.  This event brought together the women of Great Britain, Japan and the current Paralympic champions Germany.
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It was lovely to see and catch up with so many people, also watch the squad who will represent Great Britain at the end of June at the World Championships in Canada.

The first day of this competition was busy for me as I was officiating as well as assessing an up and coming official.  To top off the day I officiated a BBL professional game.  I do find it nerve racking when I have a number of my peers watching, but I am trying to see it as an opportunity for continual learning.  I see this as being really important when I am mentoring other table officials.

Here are some of the photos I took over the tournament & I would like to wish good luck to all officials and players taking part in Canada.

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International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and is held every year to “celebrate 

the social, political and economic achievements of women while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.”

I would like to celebrate and mention the women involved in the sport of Wheelchair Basketball.  Those who compete, coach, officiate, volunteer & administrate.

Here are a  photos from the Women’s League  programme held in Great Britain this season.  Thank you Alison Flower for the photos.

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The United Nations give IWD a theme every year and this year’s theme is “inspiring change”.  I will be telling you more about how I am trying help inspire change through mentoring in future blogs.  GBWBA have some passionate and committed women coaches.  Read here a little more about them.

The first time you………

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“But if you never try, you’ll never know” This is quote I came across last weekend on social media.  I officiated three Wheelchair Basketball games.  Which isn’t the first time for me but my first game was the first time a potential new official completed his first score book.

Ryan is a member of the Birmingham Blackcats Wheelchair Basketball Club.  His uncle is the coach (Rob) and it is a family affair as Rob’s wife is assistant coach.  Ryan has been helping for sometime and I thought I would ask if he was ready to complete the score book and he said yes.  We explained to the referees that this was first time Ryan was doing the score book and they were very understanding. The game wasn’t understanding and wasn’t compromised either.  It was great game to challenge Ryan as the scores were close and included lots of aspects of the rules that you learn when you complete a table officials course.

At the end of the game I asked Ryan how did he find doing the score book for the first and he said it was fine.  So he has agreed to do it again for the next home game.

As the quote says at the beginning of this post you will never know.  As an official and as a person you sometimes need to step out of your comfort zone and try new things for the first time.  Like Ryan it could be completing your first score book, getting into a chair and trying to play the game of Wheelchair Basketball or like me writing blog articles that could be read by many people.
The main thing is you give it a try and ask yourself when was the last time did you do something new for the first time?

The Season so far

Hello there I have been meaning to write some blogs since September about Basketball and Wheelchair Basketball in the UK.  Life sometimes gets in the way, so in my case a knee injury has been the main thing.  This has led to a change in careers but Basketball has always been there.  In previous blogs I mentioned people I know through basketball as family.  Sometimes I forget I officiate Basketball games because I actually enjoy it and the sport has helped me stay off the streets when I was younger, kept me grounded/stable when my life has been chaos and given me honest answers to questions I ask.  I don’t think a sport can do this without the people who work, volunteer and participate.  The season in the UK has been in full swing since September.  So managing to keep people updated sometimes can be hard.  Here are some of the events, games and my highlights from the season so far.  Early September London hosted National Paralympic Day.  Some of you know I work for an organisation that provides funding from the National Lottery and they have pledged £348,000 to the day.  I thought I would go and soak up the atmosphere.  Oh boy the vibe in the Copper Box was great, I got talking to some people who hadn’t been to the park whilst the games where taking place and wanted to come. I sat watched GB women play Spain.  It’s nice to be able to watch and watch the women play so well and you can see some of my photos here.

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At the end of September I had to take a rules test, this happens every year.  Like previous years the fear I get comes back, will I pass the test? If I don’t pass I won’t get any games.  However this year outcome was different, I passed first time.  This didn’t stop me from questioning my ability and asking did I pass because the test was easier? If you don’t put in the work you cannot reap the rewards, even revising in my lunch breaks.

There has been some really interesting and positive things happening here in the UK.  Like the opportunity to win an introduction in Officiating Wheelchair Basketball course, congratulations to the winning club.

Also an officials mentoring workshop, I am hoping to be involved with this as I really want to give back and keep developing as an official and as a person.

So Happy New Year and I hope 2014 and the rest of your season brings you everything you want.  Thank you again for reading my blog entries and learning about Wheelchair Basketball through my eyes.

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