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.

One last memory – London 2012

There were too many memories to say one stood out from everything else.  So here are some more pictures.

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The strapline “Inspire a generation” could be seen everywhere across the park and the village.  We all have to play our part to inspire a generation, if that means we share our stories of how we got involved with Wheelchair Basketball, volunteer some of our time or be the best officials we can be.

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This photo shows the gym within the Paralymic village which is now part of Chobham Academy a school which opened last week.

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This little character entertained officials more than you will ever know, he looks like the Gruffalo from a storybook.  He was actually an Angus Aberdeen cow.  “Angus” had some adventures and could even stat a game of Wheelchair basketball by the end of the games.

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As part of our accommodation there was a residents centre and all of the gamemakers who were on duty were all really nice.  They tried to help with every question and issue thrown at them, even at the end of long shifts they were full of life.  In the mornings they would be playing music and on this particular morning they were dancing  some salsa.

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Many who walked around the village would of remembered the guy with the mustache, cigar and big hat.  Well I plucked up the courage to approach him and ask to take his photo.  I later found out this guy was called Jose Luis Rios, known as “bigos” and he has been to every Paralympic Games since Seoul  1988 with the Mexian squad.  He didn’t speak any English but was really friendly, he gave my camera to games maker to take this photo.

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After one of my late games I took a walk through the village and the park there was loads of atmosphere.  The Globe was within the village for the athletes and in the park there were bands playing.

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Mandeville was the Paralympic mascot for London 2012 and I wouldn’t usually get excited about a soft toy but when I came across this Mandeville in one of the merchandise stores I did.  It was the same height as myself, I thought it was cool.

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On the final day of competition these were some of my lasting memories.  Some of the Canadian ladies team went all out with their attire before cheering on the men to Gold.   The lady in the other picture is part of my Wheelchair basketball family and is from Belgium.   She came over to volunteer and made me aware that people from all over the world will volunteer because of their love of the Paralymic games.

IMG_0963 As the games came to an end we were given a certificate of participation and a medal, I still haven’t decided how I would like to present them.

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Finally when I took my belongings to UPS to send them home, yes there was no way I could carry  all my uniform.  Myself and my roommate went to the postoffice.  I decided to send myself a postcard, partly to cheer myself up when I was at home and have a written record of my time in the village.

As the postcard says It’s been amazing.

More memories – London 2012 Part 3

I will be sharing more images with you but the London 2012 Paralympics has changed people’s perception of disability sport.  So much so London will be hosting a National Paralympic Day

This  National Paralympic Day will be held on the first day of competition at the U23 World Championships in Turkey, check out the website for more information.  It is always exciting to see fellow officials record their experiences before, during and after competition.  So good luck and enjoy everyone.

Here are some more images London 2012.

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More memories – London 2012 Part 2

I think I got quite emotional when writing the first part of this blog and didn’t think one year on so many emotions would be evoked.

At this time of the year teams from all over Great Britain are confirming their fixture lists, officials are revising for rules tests and getting in shape for the season ahead.

This Wednesday one year ago the opening ceremony for the Paralympic Games was held.  I still feel very blessed to actually attend such an amazing event.

Once we picked up our dinner off we went.
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I still use my case to take my lunch to work sometimes.  I thought the contents were quite posh, but were a twist on english classics.

When we got into the stadium there was so much going on without any athletes or presentations.  Here are some more of my photos.

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More photos can looked at on Pinterest.

Here are some facts about the opening ceremony:

  • Great Britain’s first ever Paralympic gold medalist Margaret Maughan lit the Paralympic Cauldron.
  • The Ceremony took the form of a play, based around William Shakespere’s The Tempest.

More memories – London 2012 Part 1

The public holiday at the end of August in the UK will always mark the start of my time at the Paralympics.  All equipped with my accreditation, camera and case off I went.  Usually on the public holiday I go to the Notting Hill Carnival but this time I met one of the ITO’s at St Pancras International and we got on a bullet train to Stratford International.

I had to stop writing this entry as I have been thinking about what to write on this anniversary for some time and went back to read my previous blog entries.  I haven’t been sure I was any good at this blogging stuff but people have reading them and I thank you all.

I had ideas to type loads of things that happened last year but I think I will save some facts and figures for another entry and leave you with some photos from the first few days of my time at the Paralympics.

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More words and photos to follow.

One year ago today

I would like to say time flies when you’re having fun and I have, hehe!  One year today I went off to Olympic Park to watch Synchronized swimming.  I honestly don’t know what my thinking behind applying for the ticket was but out of everything I did applied for I was lucky in the first round ballot.

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Myself at the Aquatics Centre 1 year ago

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Myself at the Anniversary Games held at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium 51 weeks later

Fast forward 51 weeks and I was back at Olympic Park for the Anniversary Games Paralympic athletics.  Again I was lucky and got a great seat along with some colleagues from my day job.  I was really excited to go back but there was a tinge of sadness as the Basketball arena has already been dismantled.  Being realistic I know things don’t always stay the same but do they do things change for the better?  I was reading an article from Hoopfix, Sam is all about basketball.  His article I think was thought provoking and an interesting read.  It does relate to the running game but with a year on is it the same for wheelchair game?

I tried to find the same participation figures from Sport England who provide large amounts of funding for sport in the UK but Wheelchair Basketball is not measured in the same way.  It is measured by the the individual memberships.  There are so many ways to measure increases in participation within sport you can easily get overwhelmed but winning games is still a high priority for fans to expect from teams.  GB men did this earlier in July by winning the European championships held in Germany.  The GB women won bronze at the same event with a young developing team.

There were more changes at the park such the wings on the aquatics centre have been removed

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With wings

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Without

And most of the park looks like a building site.

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The view from Stratford Gate

Another venue on the park the Copperbox will be hosting some Wheelchair Basketball and an international running game on the 11th August 2013.

I have watched the Olympics and Paralympics for many years and never thought I would really get the opportunity to watch an Olympic event in person but I did.  More so did I ever think I would be involved as an official at the Paralympics.  I will be blogging about those anniversary experiences in the coming weeks.

Technology in sport – discussion

Yesterday I was watching some live athletics in Great Britain on one of the hottest days of 2013.  wpid-20130713_115755.jpg

There was equipment everywhere, measuring the wind, distances and timing races.  Within the the game of basketball there is a fair amount of technology and some of that gave me the chance to follow the games through stats at the wheelchair European Championships in Germany.

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Whilst at the test event in London nearly 2 years ago I came across precision timing for the first time, personally it kinda of blew my mind and made think as a timekeeper what am I really doing?  It also made me think about the relationship between the table officials and the floor officials, then whilst at the Paralympics I was reminded it wasn’t called precision timing for nothing.  The guys who controlled the timing equipment recorded all sorts of things and could even tell who blew their whistle softly.

Then I read an article about the referee cam being introduced to the WNBA and watched this video.

As both a spectator and official I thought how would the referee cam work within the wheelchair game, seeing it is head mounted?

There are so many elements of technology, not forgetting software for calculating the player points.  Now as the title says this is about discussion so let’s talk.

  • Does precision timing help or hinder the game?
  • Do we need still need the timekeeper with precision timing or can the other timekeeping duties be given to the scorer and assistant scorer?
  • With regarding the referee cam do you think it will be used in the wheelchair game and will it affect the positioning of the officials?
  • Finally, how do we educate officials to embrace technology within the game?

If you want to post or comment to this discussion privately, send me a message via Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin and I will post on your behalf.

6th America’s Cup of Wheelchair Basketball Draw

Live Streaming America’s Cup Draw

Join us for the live streaming of the draw for the 6th America’s Cup Wheelchair Basketball in Bogota, Colombia on July 9th at 10:00 am.

www.copaamericabsr2013.com

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