UW-Whitewater students and community members have the chance to get an inside look at the “internationally-known” UW-Whitewater wheelchair basketball teams.
The “Hoop Dreams on Wheels” exhibit in Old Main Lane features photos, background information, past rosters and statistics about UW-Whitewater’s men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams.
Gallery Supervisor Kim Adams said the idea for the gallery was a collaboration of ideas from the gallery staff and students.
She said since it is basketball season, they all agreed now was a good time to highlight wheelchair basketball.
Men’s wheelchair basketball has been at UW-Whitewater since the mid-1970s. In 2011, the team won the national championship and has seven players on its roster this season.
Women’s wheelchair basketball was added four years ago. The first year the sport was offered, there were five players. This season the team has nine.
Dan Price, head coach of the women’s team, said he hopes this gallery will let people know these athletes are just like all the other athletes on campus. They practice five days a week and are in the gym at least four hours each day. On top of that, they have to be a full-time student and maintain a high GPA.
“Because they have a physical disability doesn’t mean that they are any less or any different than any other of our students,” Price said.
Senior Bethany Devault has been a part of the team since the first season it was offered.
Devault said she hopes the gallery will allow people to view the athletes as just that: athletes. She said she dislikes it when people see wheelchair athletes as “inspirational.” She said she hopes the exhibit will show people the players on the wheelchair basketball team are just like everyone else on campus.
“We work just as hard as any of the other athletes on campus,” Devault said. “If there is going to be that notion, which there unavoidably is, I think that something like this helps get the message out there that you can do anything you really want to. Hard work can get you anywhere.”
Devault said the team’s goal is to teach people that everyone has some type of adversity in their life and with hard work and dedication people can accomplish anything.
Freshman Derrick Bisnett said he is excited that the university is featuring the wheelchair basketball team.
Wheelchair basketball is something unique about UW-Whitewater, Bisnett said. Not many universities offer the sport and those which do are much larger than UW-Whitewater.
This weekend both teams are hosting a tournament in the David L. Kachel Field House. Games for the men’s team begin at 9 a.m. and women’s games begin at 11 a.m.
The “Hoops Dreams on Wheels” exhibit will be on display from Feb. 1 through March 1 at Old Main Lane on the second floor of the University Center.
“Once you see it, you’re going to fall in love with it,” Price said. “Once you see everything in action and see what these athletes do, your mouth is going to hit the floor.”