>>By Payden Hall, Staff Writer


For this game, the squeaking of basketball shoes was replaced with the clanging of wheelchairs.

Music City Lightning, a wheelchair basketball team, came and played their eighth annual exhibition game at the Foy Fitness Center on Monday, Oct. 28. Associated with the National Wheelcats, the Music City Lightning is a regional team of 20 members that plays against teams from other states.

“I have an appreciation for these athletes. They have so much more athletic ability than I have ever had,” said coordinator Janet Norman, associate director for Disability Services.

Free to the public, the event was complete with refreshments and door prizes.  At halftime, students lined up for a free throw for the chance to win an iPod Shuffle.

“I am glad to be here,” said Cory Reeder, number 35 on the white-jersey team. “This is my alma mater. I graduated in 2002 with a degree in computer science. I’m glad to see my friends.” Reeder said he has played wheelchair basketball three years with this team, but he has a total of four years’ experience.

“The exercise is extremely beneficial,” Reeder said. “Also, I love the feeling of winning, and I enjoy the camaraderie.”

Reeder said athletes with disabilities can still participate in the community event, and because they play, they become involved in community and come away feeling important.

“The main difference between our team and regular teams is that so much of it is in the arms,” Reeder said. “You have to learn to move the chairs across the court. You go and go and go, and by the time you are ready to make a shot, your arms are already exhausted.”

Freshman, Bri Keen said, “It’s incredible that they are able to maneuver the court and control the ball using only their hands. It’s so much harder when it’s just their hands. It’s so inspiring.”

Because it was an exhibition game, the team divided into two sets of players wearing white and blue jerseys, respectively. The score was 36 to 32 with the white-jersey team as the winner.

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