For those reading this blog over the next few weeks that don’t know me, my name is Chris Stoutenburg. AKA Stouty or Stoutenhiemer, # 13. I am a member of the Canadian Men’s wheelchair basketball team and currently in Beijing, China preparing for the 2008 Paralympic Games.
CANADIAN WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL TEAM MAKES THIRD STRAIGHT PODIUM FINISH SETTLING FOR SILVER AT THE 2008 BEIJING PARALYMPIC GAMES
(BEIJING, CHINA) – The Canadian Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team won silver at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics falling to Australia 72-60 in the final Tuesday.
They made the Paralympic podium for the third straight time in Beijing after winning gold in 2000 and 2004 in Sydney and Athens.
Canada was the favourite heading into the final with a flawless 7-0 record. They went undefeated through five preliminary games, and sweept through the quarterfinals, and the semi-finals.
Australia carried a near perfect 6-1 record after recording just a single loss to the United States during the preliminary rounds.
This was the third time these two teams met in the finals of a major international tournament this year. Canada had the edge going into the match after beating Australia 55-49 in January to win the Good Luck Beijing Invitational Tournament. More recently they beat them 65-50 to win the German Pre-Paralympic Test Series in June.
Canadian superstar Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON) once again led all scorers with 22 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds to secure his sixth double-double of the tournament. Through eight matches he averaged 20.4 points per game and 12.4 rebounds per game.
Joey Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) also notched a double-double matching Anderson’s 12 rebounds and adding 12 points.
Richard Peter (Duncan, BC) was the only other Canuck to reach double digit scoring with 11 points. Chris Stoutenburg (Collingwood, ON) contributed 6 points, while David Eng (Montreal, QC) had 3 points. David Durepos (Fredericton, NB) and Abdi Fatah Dini (Toronto, ON) rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Canada was leading 32-28 at halftime before Australia exploded in the third quarter to outscore Canada 28-15 in the frame. A four point Canadian lead evaporated into a seven point deficit in part due to some foul trouble. Canada maxed out their foul limitation with 3:15 remaining in the quarter resulting in 10 easy points for Australia from the free throw line.
In the fourth quarter Canada battled back and narrowed the lead to four points before a string of poor shooting proved to be difference. They managed only 13 points in the final period which allowed the hot handed Aussies to put the game out of reach.
Australia’s Troy Sachs helped pave the way for Australia by scoring a team-high 19 points including the final two daggers on free-throws with 0.1 seconds remaining in the game.
Australia outworked Canada down low, shooting 44% from the field on the night they put down 44 points from the paint compared to Canada’s 24. Limited accuracy on foul shots also hurt the Canadians who finished the day shooting 54% from the free throw line, while Australia hit 77% per cent of their shots.
Earlier in the day Great Britain defeated the United States 85-77 to claim bronze.
CANADA ON ROUTE TO THIRD STRAIGHT PARALYMPIC GOLD MEDAL
The Canadian men are the two-time defending Paralympic champions and world champions. They are looking for their third consecutive gold - a feat that has never been accomplished in men’s competition.
Canada went undefeated through five preliminary games, and swept through the quarterfinals, and the semi-finals to earn their spot in the championship game with a flawless 7-0 record.
Australia carries a near perfect 6-1 record after recording just a single loss to the UnitedStates during the preliminary rounds.
This will be the third time these two teams meet in the finals of a tournament this year. Canada has the edge going into the match after beating Australia 55-49 in January to win the Good Luck Beijing Invitational Tournament. More recently they beat them 65-50 to win the German Pre-Paralympic Test Series in June.
Canadian superstar Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON) is averaging over 20.1 points per game and 12.4 rebounds per game, notching double-doubles in all but two matches. In a remarkable display of skill and determination Anderson tallied a tournament best 33 points and 21 rebounds for Canada in the semi-final match against the USA to help Canada fight back from a 12 point deficit at halftime. He capped off the textbook rally in true heroic style by tossing up a three-pointer with just three seconds left in the game to tie things at 45 points apiece, forcing the first of what would be two overtime periods before Canada finally stole the game 69-62.
Joey Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) and Richard Peter (Vancouver, BC) were also instrumental in the key victory. Both contributed double-doubles of their own with Johnson accounting for 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Richard delivered 10 points and 11 rebounds.
So, the game is Iran…. Who are a very different bunch of basketball players then what the world is used to. The game starts off with a bang as Myself, Patty, Joey, Jamie and Bear get things rolling and quietly take it to the very emotional Iranian team. They are known to take a lot of 3 pointers in a game and were averaging around 25 attempts from that distance a game. They don’t change their approach to this game and start firing up 3’s. The difference with these guys, compared to the rest of the world is they have no problem launching up these shots from anywhere. I mean they fired up anywhere from 6-8 feet behind the 3 point line. Now usually you would let a team shoot from that far away but these guys hit that shot consistently. I’m telling you even thou at the end of the first quarter we were up 30-16 they still had hit 3-5 from behind the 3 and none were anywhere close from the line and were early in the shot clock. Its not like they had to do it cause time was running out, they just like that shot. So the second quarter gets scary as they bring in there point guard who loves to shoot these deep shots and he hits one on the gambler from about 5 feet off the 3 point line so approximately a 27 foot shot. We are all a little stunned and they begin to press when he hits another deep 3 pointer. They cause a couple turnovers we miss a couple easy ones next thing you know the second quarter with only 5 minutes passed and were only up 5 points. Now the next shot I’m about to tell you about I will remember the rest off my life, number 10 from Iran comes up the court with the ball crosses half court takes one more push and shoots (about 35 feet from the basket and about 19 seconds still left on the shot clock) and drains it, nothing but net. (after hitting this shot he turns to the stands kisses his hands raises them up as if they were gold and smiles) 2 point game……. I mean are you serious. This was very tough to watch as the second line up struggled so much but coach Frog was not gonna sub them out and was determined that our guys would get it back together and turn this around. Which not so surprisingly happened, our guys scored a bucket right after that shot and then stole the ball, got another hoop, forced a few bad shots and a few more steals and at half we were back up by 15 points. After the half I think we had had enough of the Iranian players kissing there hands and pointing to the sky, because we never turned back and continued our assault on the opposition and buried them 93- 60. The game was exciting and a great test plus with that win we emerged from our pool 5-0 atop the A division in first place. Our cross over game in the quarterfinals will be against Israel. This game is on the 13th (My Birthday) as we have the 12th as an off day and will be relaxing that day to recover.
Since the next day is a relaxing day I figure why not cause a little drama amongst the troops. There has been an ongoing war between #14 Abdi Fatah Dini and #9 Ross Norton for the last few months and it had almost simmered until last night. Abdi forgot to log out of his Facebook properly and Ross discovered he was still logged in. Ross took this opportunity to make a few adjustments to Abdi’s status on Facebook. He changed his sexual preference to men, and his status to “decided to come out of the closet”. Now this is not Abdi’s sexual preference (not that there’s anything wrong with that if it was). The biggest laugh to all of this is that Abdi did not find out until today when he opened it up and notice he had messages asking him “how long have you known?” and “You’re gay?” Well this started the war right back up, and who else better to increase the odds of it getting good?…. (Well really the best option is Dick) but it was me who was presented with the chance and I seized my opportunity. I was in Ross’s room cause you can get an internet signal from his balcony, Ross and Dirt were heading out to get some food and left me the key to lock up after I was done….. (Why?) Anyways so I finished sending out my emails, locked the door and headed to lunch. I get to lunch and Ross forgets to ask me for his key, and just at this moment Abdi pulls up a tray and sits beside me. Well here’s my chance to profit and see some great action. I ask Abdi “how much is your revenge worth to you?” “Is it worth 400 Yuan?” (about 65 dollars Canadian) he says yes and I present him with his “key” for an ultimate revenge. I encourage him to act fast as Ross will soon remember he needs his key and ask me for it. Which later that evening did happen when we were out but I told him that I had left it with Jamie’s computer locked up in our room and he could get it when we got back (knowing that I was not coming home that night because we had the day off tomorrow and I was going to stay with my girlfriend Sara who is here watching the games and staying at a hotel).
Well I had bought Abdi some time - the rest was up to him. I enjoyed my day off with Sara and waited to hear the outcome of the events I had put into motion. The 12th was a great day, very relaxing and now we prepare to play Israel in the quarterfinals.
I will fill you in with the details of the game and the “game” tomorrow..Until then
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
CANADIAN WHEELCHAIR B-BALLERS ADVANCE TO QUARTERFINALS
Both Canadian teams now advance to the quarterfinals and are considered favourites to capture the Paralympic Gold medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China which run from September 5 – 17, 2008, after dominating nearly all international competition in recent years.
The men are the two-time defending Paralympic champion and world champion and are looking for their third consecutive gold. Canada opened competition with a 62-59 win over Germany on Sunday September 7, 2008. They also defeated South Africa 80-55 on Monday September 8, Sweden 62-52 on Tuesday, and Japan 75-48 on Wednesday.
Duncan, BC’s, Richard Peter, participating in his fourth Paralympics, broke-out against Iran on Thursday to lead all scorers with 20 points. Peter shot a remarkable 82 per cent from the field and was one of four Canadian players to notch double-digit point totals. Other high scorers include Patrick Anderson (Fergus, ON), with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, Joey Johnson (Winnipeg, MB) and David Durepos (Fredericton, NB) each had 12 points.
Up next, the men will face Israel in the quarterfinal Saturday. Israel placed fourth in their pool.
It’s getting harder to write, as we get farther into the tournament. We played 2 games with a quick turn around. First we played Sweden on Tuesday night then we played Japan the next morning. To kill the suspense for you, I'll fill you in that we won both games. Each game was a great chance for us to improve and learn. The First Game was against Sweden and we played very well. The game started with the usual guys myself, the gambler, bear, Patty and Joe. We started off on a good pace quickly jumpingout to a ten-point lead and increased the lead to 13 by the end of the first quarter. We changed line-ups and the attack continued with Dirt, Ross, Pat, Ding and Bear. We had increased the lead again and by half time we were out in front by 20 points. After Half time we came back with Abdi, Myself, Pat ding and Yvonne. We played great and kept the attack going getting close to a 30 point lead and then the fourth quarter came along and we coasted a bit. We had said before the game that we would push it for 4 quarters but we let up in the 4th. I don’t think it was fatigue as much as lack of focus. It is hard to keep focus when you are up that much in a ball game the only problem was that with the final line up in the fourth quarter with Abdi, Bo, Ding, Dirt and Ross, played hard just couldn’t get the finish we were looking for. The effort and skill was there, the ball just did not want to fall which can happen in basketball. We still won by 12 or 13 but the lead had dropped a bit and we were happy but still looking for better results. Its tough when you win and still want more but that is just the way our team is. We are perfectionist and we want to make sure when we hit the medal rounds that our game is in top form.
The second game was against Japan and it was a quick turn around and an early morning. We got finished with the Sweed’s at 10pm and home by 11pm and in bed by 12 then had to get up at 6 to eat make the bus and play Japan at 9am. Now in the past early morning games have not been our best. Usually the worst game of the tournament is our early morning games. But this would not be the case and maybe it is because the early morning game was really a late night game back home in Canada but we came out gun’s a blazing. The score was 25-9 after the first quarter and 55-20 at half the lead got up into the 30 plus range and the final score was not pretty. We came to play and pushed the ball at Japan all game long. Our defense was incredible with countless steals and blocked shots as well we ripped down 55 rebounds as a team. Great game for us as we need to keep up the focus for our game against the surprising team of the tournament Iran. They have won 3 out of 4 games and no one knows anything about them. There big star #10 who we just watch video of this morning seems like quite a character as he does a lot of fist pumping, pointing to the sky and even high fiving the bench as he wheels up court. This should be a fun game, I look forward to an emotional game with a lot of speed. I’ll let you know how much celebrating the Iranian team does when we play them.
Beijing University, This Game was the only game we will play at this venue, which is the second basketball venue which is located at the Beijing University of Science and Technology.
The pre game went as usual and that is a good sign as if it changes then so has the focus. We tipped of against the Africans at 5pm with our starting line up of Joey, Patty, Bear, The Gambler and Myself. We came out the same as against the Germans but with one major difference we were scoring and after 10 minutes of play the score was 25-12.
The second quarter saw a lot of the same with a line up of myself, dirt, bear, ross and Pat. The score at half was 48-24 with the Africans hitting 4 very tough 3 pointers from very long ranges and very well covered to manage to get 12 point.
After our half time meeting we started the second half with Adam, ding, Yvonne Gambler and myself. It was a great first 5 minutes but then we went cold and they got hot. We gave up 18 points in 5 minutes and 24 for the quarter. After holding them to 12 points a quarter we gave up just as much in one quarter as we did in one half. Needless to say Coach frog was none to impressed and let us know exactly how unimpressed he was. Well that woke us up and we quickly jumped back out in the lead by 20 points and ever looked back winning by close to 30. So this game was better but we still need to learn and grow as we managed to play a solid 3 and a half quarters of basketball the problem is that will no cut it in a gold medal game. We need to put together 40 minutes of solid defense and offense if we want to get the gold. We will learn some more and continue on.
So now were 2-0 and set to play Sweden tomorrow at 5pm. Today saw some more upsets when Iran (which I’m calling the Gonzaga of the tournament) beat Sweden (European champs) by 20 points and Japan stole one Germany. Crazy day and it is becoming more and more evident that anyone can beat anyone this time around and no game is guaranteed. That’s just the way we like it!
Until Tomorrow - Live and Learn
September 7th 2008 Opening game against Germany
Our first game was to be at 8:45pm, I set the stage for you.
The starting line up for Canada was as follows, #7 Richard Peter aka Bear, #8 Joey Johnson aka Double J, #11 Jamie Borrisoff aka The Gambler, #12 Patrick Anderson aka the answer and #13 myself, Chris Stoutenburg aka Stouty. Right from the tip off we played with intensity, we were attacking with speed and getting the shots we wanted…… notice I said shots not Baskets. It was a tough start we were dominating the game but were only up by 2 points. We just could not get the ball to drop. We applied the press a bit and started to steal the ball but still were having trouble putting the ball in the hoop. It was like there was a lid on our hoop and we just could not shake it. Finally after about 5 minutes of play the ball started to drop. We were down a few points but after Joey knocked in a bucket from down in the battle zone under the basket and I drained a 15 footer from the elbow of the key, Borrisoff took the ball right to the hole and Anderson finished of the Germans with a few steals leading to layups we managed to take a 7 point lead at the end of the first. They were hard earned hoops and we had hoped that this was the start of our game and we would begin now to set the tone for the rest of the game. The second quarter brought on another line up of #10 Adam Lancia aka Tango, #4 Dave Duerpos aka Dirt, #11 Jamie Borrisoff aka The Gambler, #7 Richard Peter aka Bear and #9 Ross Norton aka P. The line up struggled right from the beginning and just could not buy a basket. It was a very tough quarter and we found ourselves behind in the count at half time. After some refocusing at half time we came back out to the court with the starting line up back on with the change of Joey for #15 David eng aka Ding and #14 Abdi Fatah Dini aka fettuccini for the Gambler. We traded baskets with the Germans having lead changes throughout the quarter but after a six point swing from a technical foul we found ourselves down 9 at the end of 3 quarters. The Fourth quarter brought back the starting line up. We looked at the score and it was very unusual for us to be in this situation… usually it is the other way around. Well we looked at each other and said hey “we should press” so we did and with in about 4 minutes of us stealing the ball causing turnovers and just causing havoc on the German team, we were up. The turn around was led by the scoring of Anderson who took it inside and out to put us up by 5. The Germans fought right down to the end. In the last 2 minutes of the game Joey found his 5th foul as did the same with 38 seconds left. We held on to the lead and won by 3 points. David Eng had came in for Joey and Abdi in for myself. It was actually David who secured the game with a layup in the final minute.
It was an intense game and a great win to start the tournament. Frog and I went to a Press conference after the game where we were asked a lot of questions and the one that stood out the most for me was when frog was asked what does this win mean? He answered with “ every win is great no matter the margin and what we will do with this win is take the positives with us and with some review of video learn from the negatives.” That is why he is the coach… and that is what we will attempt to do tomorrow when we play a very young and energetic South Africa. So day one was in the books we are 1-0 with a close one out of the gates. This was the same day we saw Australia battle back after being down 17 points at the half to Brazil, and the British crush the Chinese in front of a crowd of 22 thousand people.
Today was the Opening ceremonies and is a very long day. The theme of today was “it’s Just 15 Minutes”
So after an early morning video Session, we broke of into groups to figure out the rest of the day as we had nothing else scheduled other than opening ceremonies. We were to meet outside our building at 5:45pm to leave for the ceremonies. That meant the day was ours. The guys I ended up with were David Eng #15 aka Ding, Richard Peter #7 aka Bear or Dick and Yvonne Roulliard #5 aka Johnny Boy. We were planning on picking up our tickets for our significant others for the first game tomorrow and then hitting the market. We debated on taking a cab but we were told the walk is about 15 minutes to the stadium and then another 15 minutes to the place the tickets were being held. Sounded easy enough so we decided we would push to the tickets and then cab to the market. Well this is not how things went, first of all we should of checked the route before we just headed out into the city only knowing that we need to be heading south….. I figured I could easily navigate through the city by checking landmarks. The problem is that all the land marks I knew and saw before this trip I had not really paid much attention to where they were in relevance to anything else. Oops, well it was a long trip especially when we started out heading west… (get that, the only info we had was go South and we start the trip off heading west.) We finally get on a land mark that kinda makes sense and ding asks how much farther, I tell him about 15 minutes?
For those of you who do not know David eng he does not need a wheelchair at all times he just uses one to play ball, all the other times he walks. Now he figured he could walk about half an hour so he was not to concerned. Well after another 15 minutes we decide to pull out the map. One major default with our map…. None of us read Chinese. The map just had pictures of the Olympic stadiums so we judge by where we figured we where the stadiums are and heading in that direction, confident we were on the right track we figured we should be there in about 15 minutes. So after another 15 minutes we get to a gate that is guarded by to military we show our accreditation and easily pass, so we must be in the Olympic green now, so were for sure close. So then 15 minutes pass and we still see nothing familiar. Now at any time we probably could of asked one of the thousands of volunteers we passed but instead we just acted like we knew where we were. By this Time David is hurting and very tired as well we are getting thirsty. Then it happens we finally see the Olympic stadium the building that has been dubed the Birds nest. “Sweet that looks like its about 15 minutes away” I say to Ding he gives me a dirty look and says “everything is just 15 minutes with you, you said we should be there in about 15 minutes about an hour ago” I laughed and we kept going. It was just about this time when I mentioned to Ding that the coaches (who all walk besides frog) were heading to the same place but had taken a cab? ( I know that’s hilarious right?) well after about 1 and 45 mins we get to the ticket place and here’s the kicker….. Ding finds out that his family and girlfriend can come pick them up and there was no need for him to come at all. Inside I laughed my ass off but on the outside I looked disappointed because ding is big enough to fold me up like a pretzel if he wanted to. But I’m telling ya it was funny. I got my ticket and headed right next door to the hotel that my girlfriend Sara will be staying at when she arrives tomorrow to leave her ticket at the front desk.
That was not what was happening, I get to the Crownne Plaza and the guy at the desk informs me that she is not booked in that hotel but is booked in the one 30 minutes from here. I tell him he has made a mistake he tells me no he hasn’t and after a cordial discussion with this young man he discovers I am right he is wrong he will fix everything and drop the price. ?
After all this we realize we have no time to go to the market ding gets in a cab heads back and dick and I decide we will wheel back…. After 30 minutes we were back in the food hall in the village eating dinner and laughing. So it seems if you know where your going its about 15 minutes to the stadium and 15 to the tickets?
We headed to the opening ceremonies, which were fantastic, I suggest if your able to watch them on CBC you do so. They were just as good if not better then the Olympics. I’m not gonna go into detail about them but it was a great experience. That was my 3rd ceremonies in the lat 9 years and by far the best ones.
When you head somewhere with out directions make sure the map is in English
September 4th 2008 - Beijing China
Hello - Today is the day Canada as an entire Paralympic team raises the Canadian flag and is officially recognized in the village. These are big days in the village, it is our chance to let the rest of the world know we are here. The ceremony is a long one and a lot of hurry up and wait kinda procedures. Well today due to the ceremonies being at night we just could not manage to get 2 practices in, Awe shucks! I know we wanted to get 2 in soooo bad. Lol no I just kid but it was a nice break. We practiced hard in the day and had good intensity with not a lot of fouls, we are channeling our intensity into making baskets and executing. The fire is definitely there you can feel it. I hope the coverage is good and you people who have been writing me on email and face book get the chance to see what it is we are about to do. We are going to try to make history! We are going to try and win our 3rd consecutive gold medal in men’s wheelchair basketball. We are going to try to be the best there has ever been, (it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it) So hopefully you will get to see some games.
On a side note I would like to thank all the people supporting us and the emails are so many and very hard to get the time to reply but I promise I will get back to everyone eventually I am very surprised on the numbers that are reading my blog and are actually interested in what I have to say, I am Honored.
Anyways with that all a side I have to get this out in the open. The flag raising ceremony is a very proud and time honored tradition in the Olympics and Paralympics, there is a lot of spirit and it gives you a chance to really see all of your country men from all the other sports and get to know some people who are in the same shoes as you and see how they are enjoying the experience. The problem is there is a lot of time waiting and something gets into you while this happening…. Or maybe is just our team that gets a little antsy. Either way we were sitting in a large press conference style room just found out that the Canadian flag bearer at the opening ceremonies Saturday will be Tilsdale, a swimmer with sight impairment, ( I’m not sure if Blind is the right term but I am almost positive that sight impairment is way off) but anyways, that was exciting and a very proud moment for us and I’m sure for that young man it will be something he never forgets, what an honor! But that’s not what I need to get out there…. Right after this was announced we were entertained by 3 young men from china that were trained in the deadly arts of “I’MA MESSYA UP” or something in the martial arts field. They did some flips and kicks, I guy broke a piece of Metal over his head… yes I said metal and head! But the finally was either magic or I am simply way behind in my martial arts progression. This dude took a solid plate of glass held it up, another dude held a balloon behind the glass and the third guy held a pin on the opposite side of the glass away from the balloon. (not I’m thinking what the H E double hockey sticks is this guy gonna do? I’ll tell ya what he did, he did a david copperfeild of something cause he somehow shoved the pin through the glass with so much speed and force that he popped the balloon on the other side and only put a small tiny “pin like hole” in the glass ( go figure the pin made a pin like hole) but seriously can people really do that? If anyone knows if that is for real let me know cause that will solidify that I never make a face at the guards at the security gates trying to get them to smile for the rest of the time here. If people in this country can shove pins through glass with out breaking the glass….. I am blown away.
Ok so after the magic trick (until someone teaches me to do that it will remain a trick in my mind) it had us all wound up! Especially Dave DIRT Duerepos #4. Bear was filming the whole ordeal and right after he pans over to the guys beside him, which was dirt and Yvon “ Johnny Boy” Roulliard. Now for some reason Dirt says to Bear “Is the camera on?” bear replies that it is….. Dirt then makes a karate noise moves his hands around like he is a ninja and spins and Karate Chops the unsuspecting Johnny Boy right across the chest. Yvon caught completely of guard winces in pain and then sucks it up and chops dirt back. Now If you saw it you would be laughing as hard as I was unless you are opposed to senseless acts of violence then you may not of laughed as hard ut a giggle still would escape. Dirt apologized everyone was fine and it was very entertaining, thing I find interesting is that Bear aka Dick was the one sitting beside Dirt right before he did it and got it all on tape. He claims he was not involved and that he just happened to get it on tape. But if you don’t know what Dick is capable of go back and read the blog that I wrote just about him.
After the ceremonies and everything was done we went back to residence and got ready for bed. Well after we watched dirt chop yvon about 20 times on the camcorder.
Hello...Remember yesterday when I said we would know were ready to play when coach frog has to intervene? Well today’s blog is titled
“Let the bodies hit the floor”
So the morning’s practice was very low key and consisted of some individual growth skills, ie: shooting, passing ect.
After a short rest and some food, it was time for the evening practice where we get the chance to work on team skills and scrimmage. Usually we work on end of game situations, sideline and end line plays then a couple scrimmages. Well frog must have noticed the energy in the gym cause we went straight into scrimmage. We played 10 minute games red versus white. The first scrimmage was high paced and high scoring as David Eng of the red squad decided to start shooting the ball from where ever he felt like. First he started by making some circus shots from around the basket tilting up on one wheel falling over sideways and finding nothing but net. Then as the white team started to make a move to tighten the gap, Eng blasted two 3 pointers and one of them was and “and 1” meaning he was fouled in the process of the shot. Needless to say red to the first game and the tension grew. The second game was also high paced and there was a little more contact and a few guys were sent to the floor with a quarter so if they were upset about it they could call someone who cared. Lol The second game went to white and then it happened. The third game was not one to watch if you have a problem seeing guys in wheelchairs sent flying across a gym. White jumped out to an early lead with a few key shots by #4 Dave “Dirt” Durepos. I also being on the court for white hit another quick jumper and the lead was 7-0 (counting baskets only as 1 point) quickly red turned on the press and white….. well we turned on the fouls… anybody from red that even thought about tying to take a shot from in close got hit or stuffed then hit, it was intense. The open court became a place that if you had your head down or were pushing slow it could cost you the privilege of sitting upright in your chair. It was a sight to see and it was extremely fun, no one was hitting with the intent to injure or even come close hurting anyone, we were just making sure that there was no such thing as an easy basket. Anyways red pushed through our Goon tactics and quickly shortened the lead to 2 points with 2 minutes left. Now, I feel this is an exaggeration but frog claims to have counted 11 team fouls by white in the last 2 minutes and says that how we held on to the lead. I believe it was just perseverance and the will to win that made white victorious. Either way it happened….. frog had to pipe up and say “ Alright, enough! Stop with the fouls and the jawing and calm down!” some reason he was looking at me and Mr. Pat Anderson when he yelled it? (Nothing to do with the exchange in pleasantries right before the whistle) ……………. It had happened and as I had predicted were ready! It’s a good sign, it may seem like it was just a rough practice, but it is the intensity of the practice that really stood out. It’s that intensity that wins us championships, its that intensity that gets the loose ball rolling out of bounds, its that intensity that makes other teams stutter just for a second and that second they stutter, is when we attack. The blood is in the water and we just released the sharks.
Now we don’t play for a few more days but with that intensity established we will spend the last couple practices channeling it into execution. I like the schedule we are on and I like the way people are playing. The team is hyped and the game is about to change one more time. In 2000 we set the bar for other teams to come get us. We did it again in 2004 & 2006. now there’s one more chance to set it again. I believe we are up to the task.
I figure I will give you a couple of highlights from today’s scrimmage before I go.
Top 3 plays
#3 Pat Anderson #12 aka the answer, patty and on the west coast…. Choir boy.
#2 Joe Johnson # 8 aka Double J
Ok anyways, back to the move that earned him the #2 spot on the list. On defense for white, Yvon aka Johnny 2 Stumps shook his defender and cut the lane receiving a pass from dirt Johnny boy believed he was in the clear for a lay up when out of nowhere Double J tilts up from behind and Packs the ball back into Johnny boys lap like he was from Green bay. (coach jerry Tonello called it a foul but I think that was cause he couldn’t wrap his mind around the sheer athletic skill it took to make such a block.
#1 David Eng #15 aka Ding (which he has informed me the spelling should be DENG, and I reply with…. )
P.S. Manager Jeff dunbrack informed me that he just doesn’t run for fun, he competes in half marathons and will be competing in one when we get home, I say to Jeff… great work so your only half crazy! But if you keep up the work maybe you will run a full Marathon and soon and we can have you set up in an asylum. ? lol thanks for the foamies buddy!
Hello .. I like to start of my blog today by talking about a teammate of mine that is notorious for causing havoc amongst the rest of the team without ever being involved. This Character I am speaking off can some how manipulate other players on the team to battle between themselves while the whole time he is the catalyst of the situation. The man I speak of is none other then the infamous Richard Peter #7. AKA Dick, Bear or Big Chief Huggy Bear.
Bear has been on the national team since the game of wheelchair basketball was invented I think, lol no but he has been around for quite a while. This is his fourth Paralympic games, bear is a seasoned veteran of the game and life. So, Dick, what most of us call him, is the troublemaker of the team. Everyone has there strengths on this team and off and on the court his is being a dick. He is the master of the steal and hold on the court, while off the court he is the guy who is putting garbage in your bag when you are not looking, strapping your chair to the railing in the bus so when its time to get off the bus you’re stuck, putting pop bottles between your spokes or his favorite is to grab one of your wheels while you’re pushing so your chair turns square into a wall or even better someone you don’t know.
The best part about all of this he does the whole thing with a smile or blames it on someone else so you retaliate against them and he has now started a war that will have no consequences on him. I like to think a bear as the devil that sits on everyone’s shoulder telling him to do things that will get him in trouble. He calls it the dark side. Anyways, Bear has been up to his trouble making ways, playing pranks and “dicking” people (that’s what we like to call it when he screws you over.) the latest one is he tied Yvon Roulliard #5 aka Johnny Boy to the bus. Yvon was looking out the window on the ride to the gym and Bear was secretly tying the seat belt that attaches to the wall to the back of Johnny Boy’s chair. So when we unload the bus to get into the gym Johnny tries to move and goes nowhere. That is classic dick. I remember one time that he tied my chair to a bus and I was trying so hard to cut him off getting off the bus that when I went to push I flew right out of my chair. I remember looking up as he wheeled right by me smiling.
Now you’re probably reading this thinking this guy is a dick, but don’t worry, he gets his own too. This team has a core few that all we do is try to embarrass, trick or “dick” each other all the time and the friendship thrives off that kind of stuff. Oh yeah and Bear if your reading this, that crunched up coffee cup and smushed up cake you thought we put in Johnny two stumps bag, was actually put in your bag by Ross Norton#9 AKA P.
Ok so on with the day, today like every other day we practiced twice and watched video. The schedule today was a lot like we will see in a lot of our game days. We will watch video in the morning, shoot around practice in the afternoon and play a game in the evening. So today we watched video of yesterdays practice, ate lunch, had a shooting practice in the afternoon, had a light snack for dinner and scrimmaged against each other in the evening. We are getting really anxious to play, and it is getting rougher out on the court during practice. This is always how it happens as we practice against each other for so long. We are a very tight group of guys and have no problems sending one of our teammates for a ride to the floor in a practice. Don’t worry, this is a good sign, when the aggressiveness hits the point that Coach Frog has to intervene then we are ready to play. After the day ended it was late, we came back got another snack and then hit the sack. Big things happen tomorrow, Mc Donald’s opens and Abdi will get his cheeseburger. Oh yeah and we just came up with another name for Bear, Big Chief Cheeseburger.
So Until tomorrow, Always wear clean underwear cause you never know when you will get hit by a bus.
Hello, just a short note today as the time is to close to bed to write a lot.
So today was an interesting day, I lost the ability to boot my computer for reasons really unknown and we played the Chinese in a controlled scrimmage with 10 minute shifts and no shot clock or score board.
The scenario behind the lost use of my computer is strange, because all I did was plug in a pair of head phones to talk on skype and it shut down, now it will not reboot. On the plus side, I have not had any really qualified people look at it yet but the guys that know anything about computers on this team have taken there best guesses on how to fix it. Anyways I was given a lender to write this and then I will go and find qualified technician to take a look at it, I have a strange feeling someone in china knows something about computers.
But that is just a hiccup in our otherwise enjoyable stay hear in China. So this morning we had the practice made optional and the option I chose was to sleep in, along with nine other guys who made the same decision. Our 2 dedicated guys that went to practice were our Quebec dou, David Eng #15 aka Ding and Yvon Roulliard #5 aka Johnny Boy or Johnny 2 stumps.
Johnny Boy just acquired these nicknames since we have been here. Yvon, or as we have been lead to believe that was his name just revealed that Yvon is his middle name and his real first name is John. Johnny boy is a double leg amputee which is why we also call him Johnny 2 stumps. But that’s a disabled thing, you can’t call him that only his fellow physically challenge brethrens may. To the rest of the world he will be known as Johnny Boy. This is 2 stumps first year on the team and he has played very well. Johnny is a very large man and is hands are like sledge hammers, if we were ever to need an emergency sledge hammer he could just use his fists, which is great cause not a lot of people carry an emergency sledge hammer. Johnny will be a great asset it these Paralympics and has been a real pleasure to have on the team.
So after not going to practice and sleeping or as we like to call it “resting” all day we headed over to the National Indoor stadium, which is where all the games will be played except one game in the round robin. We had agreed to play the Chinese in a controlled scrimmage to help them as well as work on some line ups and fine tune a few things, plus it gave us a break from beating on each other in practice and got the chance to bang around someone new. The shifts were in 10 minute intervals and there was no score or shot clock. The scrimmage was a little slow to start as I think we found it hard to get “up” to play which is something we need to work on, as all the teams in the world have no trouble getting excited to play us. We know whoever we play they are gonna give us everything they got. So after a few bad plays we eventually got into the flow. Problem is we needed to be in right from the start, which is something we have been working on and we will keep working on it. Our sport pshyc Judy “JUDE” Goss gets here in a few days and she always helps with motivation techniques.
Judy or Jude as we prefer to call her has been with us for 4 years now. She is our sports psychologist and a great friend to all of us. Judy functions in many ways on this team and one of those is like a mother. We are a male dominated team with the exception of one of our physical therapists Denise Vandermulen and Jude. Denise only travels on a part time basis so usually its just Jude. She’s the one that says “Stouty where are you socks?” or “Pat don’t put that in your mouth” and makes sure we all have an ear to bend and will not judge. she’s here to help and very much a part of this team. We love her and couldn’t have gone this far with out her.
After the scrimmage we took an hour to just get some shots in on the main court and get use to the feel and size of the stadium because in 5 short days we will be on that court up against a very talented German team. I see the Germans as a dark horse team and any one who takes them lightly or does not bring there A game will find themselves at a loss and by a very large margin. Germany has a lot of talent and a few guys who can just flat out shoot the ball, all they need is an opening to the basket for a second and your down another 2 or 3 points. I look forward to the match and will be doing my best to keep us focused on the game and what we need to do to be successful. Anyways after the scrimmage it was eating time and bed.
So yesterday moving into the village was amazing. We were all prepared to be waiting hours and hours to have everything set up and get through security. Instead when we got off the bus about 30 volunteers grabbed our chairs and bags and off we went. We stood in line for approximately 5 mins, handed over our passport and accreditation, they scanned it and handed it back. We then wheeled another 20 feet, had our accreditation scanned at security and were done. 15 minutes and there you have it. When people classify the Chinese as efficient they are dead on. We have been very impressed with the way they have structured and ran the games. We are in great anticipation to see how the actual game days will be, from what I have seen, it will probably be flawless.
Anyways so we’re in, we check into the Canadian buildings, we are less then a 5 minute wheel to the food and transportation. The rooms are great and the bathrooms are spacious. So with 15 Guys (including coaches) on one floor of a condo with 10 bedrooms ( 2 to a room) lots of space, close to food and laundry. What else would we need? Well how bout one of those super residence centers they have been talking about on the news…. Oh ya there’s one across the sidewalk from us basically 20 feet from our front door. Inside the center is a computer lab, meeting rooms, tons of video games a café and its all WI FI. Not a bad locale for us to live in the next 3 weeks.
So it was time to check out our stomping grounds and eat of course! But before we do this we have to see what is in the bag left for us from HBC and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Well I must say they have some really interesting gear for us. It is always a trip to see what we are going to be sporting around the village in for the next couple weeks. Well this year the theme seems to be “let’s make a statement”. It is some different and very flashy gear. My favorite piece is a track suit with a zip up hoodie. It is almost the same pattern you would find on someone going hunting in a forest full of maple trees. But the kicker is that it’s a gold / light limey green in colour. It is like an ALI –G suit. For those who don’t know ALI – G he’s the same man who plays Borat, but basically it’s a “Too fly for a white guy hip hop suit” not to mention there is a yellowish see through visor to boot! So with all this flashy gear we had to have a photo shoot. I’m not going to go to in depth in the details but I will say we should be in the next HBC or Zellers Catalogue. There is some pictures to go with this blog so enjoy the couple showing our gear. I am in the hip hop suit and Jerry Tonello Assistant coach and team Co captain David Eng #15 AKA DING are the sexy pieces of man meat in the zip up jacket vests with no liner board shorts. Its quite a sight to see. These are some of our best shots.
(This is ding’s second Paralympics and will be a huge factor in our expected success. He is an energy ball, when he enters the game there is no missing him. He is intense, vocal and a force to be reckoned with. I do not envy the rest of the world when they have to attempt to match up against him).
Alright after a hilarious time with the clothing we head to eat, cause this is a team with some very big boys and one thing we are never late for is food. The dinning Hall is open 24 hours and is full of anything you can think of to eat. The week previous at the training center was great and the food was good but it was a little unusual and some how in the translation of what westerners like to eat something was lost. At the training center it was not weird to see spaghetti at breakfast and hash browns at dinner. But I am getting away from the point. We got in the dinning hall and made our presence known. We split to all different areas and each came back with a plateful or in some cases 2 plates full. One thing we did notice was that the McDonalds that is in the dinning Hall was not yet up and open. This was upsetting especially for our Rookie ABDI FATAH DINI aka Fettuccini # 14 We had been telling Abdi all about how in the village there was a Mc D’s that was all free, when we told him if he felt the urge he could order 15 cheese burgers and 100 Mc Nuggets and it wouldn’t cost him a penny his eyes danced like fire in the wind.
(Abdi is one of our rookies this year out of the 3 total new faces to this team. He is somewhat of an assassin on the court. He seems really relaxed and quiet and may not be doing much out there then you check the sore sheet and he has 15 points and probably only missed one shot if he misses any. But don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you, off the court he is an instigator and trouble making prankster. With his relaxed attitude and practical joking ways he moved onto this team like he’s been here all the time).
After we eat and drink a lot of caffeine most guys hit the village to explore. I headed back to the residence with my roomy Jamie Borisoff #11 aka the gambler
(The gambler is a PHD from Vancouver and born in Surrey. He is the inventor of the Elevation wheelchair, a chair that allows you to manually elevate or decline the seating angle of you wheelchair. So yeah, he’s pretty smart. I like to compare his game to a steve nash style of play but with better decision making skills. Even thou his IQ is probably twice mine it does not stop me from calling him Professor “Stupid”. Because for a smart dude, he still does some pretty stupid things, I’m sure his wife Carrie will attest to that. He’s the guy who is like 10 years behind in what is “IN” and still uses slang that the hippies from the 70’s used).
To do what we class ones do best. That’s rest up and plot against the rest of the team. So while the other guys are out touring, the gambler and I decide we need to get rid of all the garbage we have from the clothing and figure what better way is there to say welcome to the village then to go to Abdi’s room and dump it all over his bed, steal his pillow from its case and fill the case with garbage and take pictures of it. So after that, being the intellects we are, we framed our Class 2 Ross Norton AKA Gump or P #9.
(Ross is a very happy go lucky guy from Alberta. His trusting nature usually sets him up for an easy target. He is also a prankster himself but it is almost always on a retaliation from something that has been done to him. On the court he is a very tough defender and a lot like an unmovable object. He is so solid in his chair that if you hit him while he is sitting still you still some how end up on the floor).
Ross was an easy target as he and Abdi had already declared war from a previous trip to Atlanta. I was the instigator of that war too, when I put grapes in Ross’s socks and blamed Abdi. (no one knows this so I hope that they are not reading my blog while they are here).
After the pranks we had a meeting to get brought up to date with the protocol of the village and schedule for training. Thanks to Jeff Dunbrack Team Manager/ High performance, we did not have to do much because he had already been briefing us for the weeks before we even got here.
(Jeff “I shave my legs” Dunbrack is no stranger to sport and has been a rower for years as well for some strange reason enjoys running. Not racing, just running for fun?? That’s the kind of guy he is. He is also the kind of guy that gets Sh*t done. Jeff became part of the team in 2007 and ever since then we have not worried about a thing other then focusing on basketball. He is also a very good fit to this team as he has a great sense of humor and lets us get away with a lot, plus believes in the same philosophy as the rest of us. “if we don’t ask we can’t be told no” LOL just kidding, that’s what we do and Jeff makes sure the answer is always yes).
The day was eventful and long so the only thing left to do was sleep.
Until tomorrow, keep your stick on the ice, eyes on the prize and don’t eat yellow snow.
Saturday August 30th 2008 - Beijing, China
Ok, so to update you with what has happened so far leading into today. We have had a tough summer with a lot of trips and games. The outcomes were not as expected but still has assisted in our growth as a team thus far. We arrived here in Beijing on August 24th 2008. We came in 2 shifts as one part of the team flew from Vancouver and the other from Toronto. The West Coast boys arrived first as the Olympic Finals in Men’s basketball was under way. As usual Patrick Anderson (# 12) AKA Patty or The Answer, was attempting to get the boys a spot to watch the game and throwing the schedule for the day out the window. They don’t run things like that here in China and his plans were quickly put to rest.
(Pat is a great guy and an amazing basketball player; he just has his own time schedule and set of rules. Pat is considered to be the best wheelchair basketball player in the world. He also has the ability to find a cup of coffee and a news paper anywhere in the world. He usually is doing this about 10 minutes before practice is about to start. LOL hopefully you will get to see what a talent this young man is on CBC, oh and Ladies…he is single).
Anyways, after a short weather delay a few hours later the East Coast Boys rolled into China. This was a well timed delay as it put us just far enough back in the schedule that it cancelled our scheduled shoot around that our honorable coach Michael Frogley was hoping to run.
Since that day we have practiced approximately 4-5 hours a day along with video review at night hosted by our Assistant coach/video technician Jerry Tonello.
(Jerry is very good at what he does and will not sugar coat it for you in a video session if he thinks you could do better. I know first hand as I have been on the receiving end of one of his famous “what were you thinking here?” Even though Jerry is rough on us he is a key factor in our success as a team so far and with out his ability to read the play and make the change we would not be where we are. It’s a tough job and he does it very well).
And Jerry if you are reading this remember my praise to you in our next video session?
On Thursday August 28th 2008, we were surprised with a day off…. They don’t come often and when they do, usually not cheap. But thanks to the wisdom of Frog and perseverance of our 2 captains Jaimie Borisoff AKA The gambler #11 and David Eng AKA Ding #15.
(Dave and Jaimie are in the captain positions by a strange occurrence of events and misdirection, though well deserved and well suited for both guys. Jamie is called the gambler for many reasons but mostly for the fact he will occasionally take a chance on a steal in the game even if the repercussions are we may get scored on. But when the gamble is successful it is usually one of the best plays of the game.
Dave is a different type of guy all together. We call him Ding because he is money on the court and ding ding ding is the sound you hear when you hit the Jackpot at a casino. And did we ever hit the Jackpot when we acquired him in 2004. just to give you an idea he’s built like a WWF wrestler, he is half Chinese, Half Italian and Half Bad Mama Jama Grew up in Montreal and went to School in Texas. So when he speaks English its like Rocky meets Patrick Roy).
So as a team we travelled by bus ( that had no lift ) just stairs, which isn’t a problem for regular folks but being a “Wheelchair” Basketball Team the ability to stand or walk has escaped some of us. LOL. But being the team we are and with some appreciated help from the coaching and medical staff we all boarded the bus and headed to the SUMMER PALACE. The Summer Palace was a unique and amazing experience; the funny thing was we were there to see the emperor’s palace and everyone else seemed to be there to see us. Every time our tour stopped to take a picture about 50 Chinese people would stop to take a picture of us. We enjoyed but quickly realized we had an escort of approximately 20 Chinese Soldiers following keeping the crowd at bay. But…. If you haven’t already figured it out you will soon enough, this team is full of a lot of “characters”. We started inviting the crowd to jump in our pictures and then got the army guys who were very hesitant at first, but then joined into the fun and got into the pictures. And speaking of funny pictures let me introduce you to.
Dirt actually convinced one of the army guys to give up his hat to take a photo with. It was hilarious Dirt looked like the cop from the village people. (Check my face book page for pictures).
After our time at the Summer Palace we headed to the Silk Market where paying full price for goods is not an option. The idea behind these markets is to barter and trade until you can’t barter no more. The Silk market is a 7 story building with approximately 100- 150 selling booths per floor. It is a place where you can buy a pair of Jordan’s (shoes) and a Gucci wallet at about the cost of a happy meal. Now I must warn you there are no returns nor are there guarantees that they are authentic or going to stay together for long but hey, a Rolex for 10 bucks… even if it only works for a day you still got your money’s worth. The market is aggressive and these people selling are out to make a sale. It is an incredible way of doing business but it is not for the weak willed or Closter phobic The business owners will tell you anything you want to hear to get you in there booth, as well as attempt to make you pay a lot more then they are actually willing to part with their goods for. If you are uncomfortable at bartering then I’d recommend staying away…. “Cause for you my friend,…. almost free”
After our Day off we were back to business as usual. Sleep, eat, practice, eat practice and sleep. Somewhere in their we manage to slip in a game of poker which I finished second but only due to the fact I was very hungry and my opponent could see that hunger was out weighing my want to continue playing. (well that’s how I saw it anyways.)
Today we are moving into the Olympic/Paralympic Village. This will be my 3rd time experiencing such an event. It is always an adventure and I am sure the Chinese will follow through with tradition. The motto for the day is “Hurry UP….. and Wait.” It’s a process we all must go through and with so many countries and so many people it is understandable. I am excited in seeing what the Chinese have put together.
I will continue this Blog on a daily basis and hope that you will continue to read it and tell your friends about it. I want to accomplish by the end of this, that you will be able to understand the dynamics of this team and the unique characteristics of each individual on this team. We are on a quest to make history and I would love for you to join us.
So Till tomorrow, Be Easy, Keep your stick on the ice and don’t pee in the wind.
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