“I think people have a misconception of what we do,” says wheelchair basketball player Patty Cisneros of Scottsdale. “It’s very competitive and very physical. It’s a lot more than people give it credit for.”
The men’s, women’s and juniors teams that constitute the Banner Wheelchair Suns/Mercury practice several times a week at Broadway Recreation Center in Mesa and at Mesa Junior High School. Executive director Gary Venjohn says between 40 and 50 people are involved from the Phoenix area — and from as far away as Tucson. “Because it’s community-based, players come and go. They’ve got to deal with family first. We’ve had up to 20 people at practice, sometimes only eight or nine,” Venjohn says. The adult players assist the coaches and help mentor the junior teams.
Tribune photographer Ralph Freso watched with his finger on the shutter as the women’s and juniors teams practiced Monday at Broadway Recreation Center.
The Banner Wheelchair Suns/Mercury will host teams from Albuquerque, N.M., Tucson, and teams sponsored by the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers for a tournament Feb. 17-18 at Broadway Recreation Center in Mesa. Free. Games are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. each day; when brackets are organized, they’ll be put online at www.azspinal.org. Information: (602) 790-7909.
Each week, InFocus captures a slice of life in the East Valley through the lens of Tribune photographers. The events and activities will be entertaining and something we can all relate to — or enjoy.