Posted by Jessica on August 6th, 2010
After three months on the road, I am home. What a crazy summer it has been!
The World Wheelchair Basketball Championships were held in Birmingham, UK. There were 22 teams from all over the world competing for the title of World Champions. Before we got there, however, the team spent a week in Germany training and fine tuning things. And boy was it hot! Air conditioning is a rare thing in Europe, and there was none where we were staying. So it was with some relief that we finally boarded a plane for cold, grey England.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first world championships. The only thing people said it, “It’s different”. And they were right. There was WAY more people than I was used to. Normally when we play there are only a few other teams, and even fewer spectators. When we arrived at the hotel, it was teeming with players. It was actually a little overwhelming. And then there were the fans! The chanting Algerians, the Germans with their drums, and the just-plain-crazy Dutch. A small part of me wished I was Dutch so that everywhere I went I could have a horde of singing and dancing people all dressed in orange to cheer me on. There were a few Canadians who made the trip, but they were pretty quiet compared to some of the other countries.
The World Championships lasted twelve days. It was both the longest and shortest twelve days I’ve experienced. Some days dragged on forever while other days, (days with big games), seemed to appear out of nowhere and (occasionally) take the team by surprise.
The women that make up Team Canada are fairly young; over half the team was experiencing their first world championship. As one of those players, I can tell you that it was exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, and enjoyable all at once. We played well in the round robin, losing only once to Australia. We smashed Japan in the quarter-final only to meet our long time rivals, the Americans, in the semi-final. We had to beat the Americans to get to the gold medal match. Unfortunately, we fell short of that goal. Even though we didn’t win, the team played exceptionally well and I am still proud of our performance. This meant that we played for the bronze instead. As luck would have it, we matched up again against the Aussies.
Everyone has a team they hate to lose to and for me that team is Australia. Part of me was excited to play them again (because I wanted so badly to beat them) and part of me was terrified (because I didn’t want to lose). Australia took an early lead and we spent most of the game chipping away at it until finally taking it back in the fourth quarter. Once we got the lead, we never looked back. When the clock ran out, it was Canada ahead by 10 points! We had won the bronze medal!
I was ecstatic that we managed to pull it off despite a tough summer on the road and a number of injuries that meant drastic changes to the team. I was also excited because my husband Jon was there to watch us win and get our medals! I’m now back in Victoria for the rest of the summer and I plan on doing nothing. Absolutely nothing. I need to rest this weary body and at some point, start thinking about law school in September!