UWF Disability Awareness Month ends on the hardwood

By Steve Likovetz
Staff writer

The Mobile Patriots wheelchair basketball team came into town Wednesday and took on staff, faculty and students in the 16th annual exhibition game, which served as the official conclusion of Disability Awareness Month at UWF.

The Mobile Patriots and all UWF players and cheerleaders come together after the game. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

The Patriots are a self-supported, non-profit, community-based organization whose goal is to make people aware of what is being accomplished in sports for the physically challenged.

Christian Garman, of the UWF Innovation Institute, played in his first game at UWF but is not new to playing against the Patriots.

The Patriots and the Lady Argos basketball team meet at half court for tip-off. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

“I was able to play in one of these a year ago back when I was working for Channel 3, and it was an inspiring night, Garman said. “They are so good, and they played like such a team, and it is just a really neat experience. We ended up losing 95-20, and I am not exaggerating.”

The game began with the Patriots taking on the Lady Argos basketball team, and this was by far the most competition that would be seen all night. The Patriots outscored the Argos 19-8 in the first quarter.

The second quarter showcased the talents of the UWF staff and faculty. The Patriots quickly ran up the score, but the scorekeeper generously kept it close by awarding additional points for buckets by the faculty.  The half ended with the score 39-23 in favor of the Patriots.

In the third quarter, the UWF Army ROTC and the UWF women’s swim and dive team tried to slow down the Patriots with little success. The quarter ended with a laugh as the scorekeeper allowed the Argos to lead 90-61.

Pictured is one of many baskets score by the Patriots on Wednesday night. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

As the fourth quarter began, the Patriots were met by UWF international students and Greek organizations. The lead quickly dwindled and the Patriots took home the win with a final score of 103-98.

A spontaneous halftime show added a special touch as the crowd, led by UWF staff, met on the court for the electric slide.

“This is our biggest event of the year,” Sylvia Patterson, UWF Accessibility Resource Specialist, said. “What we are trying to do is bring awareness to the abilities of these athletes, not the disabilities.”

The abilities of the Mobile Patriots, and other similar teams, is something to behold. These athletes come from all over. Some have sicknesses that have bound them to a wheelchair, and others are Wounded Warriors. No matter where they come from, they come together as a team and inspire all those around them.

Stephanie Jeansonne, the manager of the Patriots, applauded UWF for its involvement.

The electric slide is performed at halftime by UWF staff and students. (Photo by Steve Likovetz)

“UWF makes a donation every year and helps them show the community and the school that they support disability sports,” Jeansonne said.

Contact Jeansonne at stephjeansonne@aol.com or Scott Janik at scottpjanik@aol.com for more information on the Mobile Patriots or how you can be involved.

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