It’s a ‘G’ Thing: Wheelchair athletes get unique opportunity at basketball camp, chance to represent Team USA

It's a G Thing
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It’s a game of dribbling, passing and shooting.

“I always say it was my first love,” Ryan Martin said.

But for some, basketball’s been an avenue to normalcy.

“Sports offered me the chance to be like everybody else,” Martin remembered.

Whether from a birth defect or a tragic accident, each one of the athletes here is wheelchair bound.

“I want to push them beyond what anyone else pushes them,” Martin explained of the kids at his camp. “A lot of times, we look at people with disabilities in our society and we put limits on them.”

Ryan Martin proved his ability was unlimited. He earned a scholarship to play in college, traveled the world as a professional and now organizes camps, like this one, through his foundation.

“It’s a lot of fun!” Sarah, one of the campers, smiled.

“It’s showed me that sportsmanship is everything,” Norris, one of the players, said.

“When we’re here, we just do our thing and we don’t let anything stop us,” Brianna said.

Also sharing his talent and passion with the next generation is Matt Darlow.

“I’m here basically as a counselor or a teacher to give back like the people who when I was 11 years old helped me out,” Darlow explained.

The shooting guard has been playing wheelchair sports most of his life, even making some history along the way.

“I went to the University of Illinois, and [was part of] one of the first Varsity wheelchair basketball programs and we won three National Championships,” he remembered.

The lessons Matt learned on the court have helped him become successful off of it. He’s currently a Vice President at a major financial firm.

“[Lessons likes] being part of a team, how to win, more importantly how to lose, and how to set a short and long term goal,” Darlow said.

And he’s got the goal of a lifetime set for next year as he prepares to represent the red, white and blue.

“I was just selected to be on the Maccabiah Games 2017 team in Israel in July of next year and it’s a great honor,” he smiled.

The Maccabiah Games are commonly called the ‘Jewish Olympics’ and unfortunately, don’t come cheap/

“Each person has to raise a minimum of $8,000,” he said.

And after sitting in these custom chairs, I gained a whole new level of respect for these athletes.

To donate to Matt and donate to his trip click here

Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi

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