Today marked the beginning of games for wheelchair basketball in the 2015 Parapan Am Games. My role as a volunteer is in the Athlete Services crew. Our role is to stage the wheelchairs before practices and games as well as transport them back to the “pit”, or storage area. Our games supervisor has jokingly, but somewhat seriously, named our crew the “super pit crew”. The name seems to fit because we are almost always on our feet rushing around to make sure things are ready for the athletes. Luckily today I was in the morning crew so I got to experience the kickoff of the first basketball games. To no surprise, the athletes are very skilled. The sport of wheelchair basketball doesn’t flow as well as basketball by able-bodied players but that is made up by the energy and intensity of the players. I have no doubt that there will be some very good games throughout the tournament, especially in the medal rounds. Also, since the Access Control crew was short-staffed I got to fill in in one of their positions for a little while and got to check out most of the Brazil & Puerto Rico game. Overall, everyone I have worked with has been very positive and helpful and our supervisors are doing a good job at having a plan in place to make sure the events proceed smoothly.
After my shift was over I got a workout in at one of the best gyms in Canada. I had previously heard about the place before coming on the trip so it was definitely on my bucket list of places to visit while I’m here. I am an exercise science major so anything to do with athletics and training highly interests me. I also plan on getting into some type of performance based coaching at a facility like this so having a conversation with the owner of the gym was also a cool experience.