Cleveland Cavaliers Wheelchair Basketball Team: A Good Example to Northeast Ohio
In a world where sports news is dominated by talk of suspensions, convictions and allegations, it is good to read about something positive.
Bringing a message of hard work, dedication and passion to the game of basketball, the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers (CWC) are that story.
The Wheelchair Cavaliers have been a part of the greater Cleveland area for nearly two decades, using their talents on the basketball court to build awareness and promote volunteerism as well as the value of strong competition.
These men do not see themselves as victims; instead they see themselves as athletes, while others see them as inspirational role models.
The CWC are part of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA), an organization that was formed nearly 60 years ago. The NWBA was originally intended to provide a competitive outlet for our Armed Forces veterans returning from World War II.
Over the past six decades, the NWBA has brought these values to areas like Northeast Ohio in order to provide an outlet for all who wish to compete.
The team is a mix of players with varying degrees of experience from Steve Smutak, who has been playing for 28 years, to the three junior players who are still in high school.
The 15 men on the roster are not drafted into the league under the bright lights of New York City, nor do they hold hour long specials to tell the world of their free agent decisions; they play for love of the game.
Seeking to meet their goal of building a children’s basketball program as well as executing fund-raising campaigns to help the team while establishing a greater connection with the community are examples of how the CWC works just as hard off the court as they do on it.
Despite being active on the court and in the community for nearly 20 years, they still seem to have gone unnoticed by the people of Northeast Ohio.
Even the fact that they were 2009-10 NWBA champions has gone largely overlooked by Northeast Ohio.
The team has difficulties securing facilities for games and practices as well as finding new sponsors to help keep them going.
The players are not paid to play and have jobs during the day, raising the need for support from the community they have given to all these years.
The CWC will be playing in 17 games this year from Nov. 20 through April 11, including games during halftime at Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 28 and Feb. 23.
The players encourage the people of Northeast Ohio to visit their website, clevelandwheelchaircavaliers.com, to learn more about the team and their upcoming events.
In an era where cash is king and players feel that there is an “I” in team, it’s nice to see a team like the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers that represents the true spirit of teamwork and honest competition.
The Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers are an affiliate of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and are sponsored by the Cleveland Clinic, Invacare Corporation and the Cleveland Cavaliers. For information on how to join or sponsor the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers, visit www.clevelandwheelchaircavaliers.com.
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