Basketball on the Go: The Goldenstate Road Warriors Soon to Take Detour to IHS

Chuck Gill was well on his way to the NFL after high school, until an injury, about 28 years ago, sentenced him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. After two years of rehabilitation and coping with a lost dream, Gill was introduced to wheelchair sports, a competitive world for individuals with wheelchairs. This acquaintance would change his direction to a new passion.

Introduced to wheelchair basketball, Gill found himself setting new goals for himself, achieving new accomplishments, and finding a camaraderie in competitors and teammates all over the world. When asked about Gill’s journey into wheelchair basketball, coach Paul Jackson remembered when “Gill used to come to practice lookin’ ridiculous, wearing all of these sweatbands up and down his arms and legs, and even on his head. But he’s grown since then, [he doesn’t wear those sweatbands anymore!] and he’s worked through this program to become a world-class athlete.”

Twenty six years later, Gill plays on the Golden State Road Warriors, from the Santa Clara/San Jose Area. Currently the team is 4th in the nation, traveling throughout the nation to places such as Las Vegas and Denver to compete in a National Championship tournament. A recent home game, played on April 7th, was shown on Comcast Sports after the Goldenstate Warriors game.

Another national tournament played every year occurs throughout December begins right here in the Bay Area, at San Jose State University. Five games are played over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including teams from all over the state and nation, and soon after these games are played, the Road Warriors pack up and get ready for a month-long road trip.

The Bay Area wheelchair basketball team began in the early 70’s as the San Jose Spinners. This team would then stem into two more: the Spokes and the 76’ers, who would become the Goldenstate Warriors in 1995. Since then, the team has become one of the best in the nation; an inspiration to children and adults alike, those with and without disabilities.  The Road Warriors often work with younger groups to raise awareness of wheelchair sports, talking to schools mostly in the San Jose/Santa Clara area, working mostly with middle and elementary students.

However, next month, on May 15th, Irvington students will get their own taste of wheelchair basketball, and experience the exciting and out-of-the-ordinary sport for themselves. Matching up against the Goldenstate Road Warriors, Irvington students will get the chance to sit in wheelchairs and play basketball against the pro team. Don’t worry though students, the Road Warriors will give the Irvington team a fifty point lead, but after that, it’s game time. Irvington Vikings, are you up for the challenge?