Sheila Cain has been active all her life. As a young person, she loved to down-hill ski. In her junior year as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, she took a self-guided year abroad. Based in Grenoble France, she waited tables at night so she could ski all day. It was a great adventure! However, on a trip to Algiers, she acquired a spinal cord injury.
Sheila holds many distinctions in life. She traveled the world as an airline stewardess and raised two sons. She’s an accomplished watercolor painter, and serves on the board of the California Watercolor Association. She was instrumental in creating the graphics that went out to potential funders of the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC) and ultimately helped ERC get the funding needed to build our great space. She also lives closer to the ERC than perhaps any other BORP participant—her front door is a stone’s throw from the back parking lot!
After what seemed to be a remarkable recovery from her 1970 injury, Sheila, a high functioning C3 4 quad, found herself in her early 30’s with declining health. She began using a cane to get around, then two walking sticks, and has needed physical therapy on an ongoing basis. These days she uses a combination of her wheelchair and walker to get where she needs to go. “Once you’re in a wheelchair,” Sheila says, “you’ve got to find ways to keep moving.” Fortunately, BORP has been able to her help do that.
Frequent stops at the ERC to meet with various providers afforded her the chance to pass by BORP’s Fitness Studio. In 2017, she noticed the Wednesday noon yoga class and has been a regular student ever since. Says Sheila, “Erik (who teaches Restorative Yoga on Wednesdays from 12pm to 1pm) gives us active poses followed by restorative poses. He’s very good at figuring out what the class needs. He comes up with imagery that is provocative and really sticks with you.” At the start of this year, and at her prodding, a seated Tai Chi class was added to the BORP Fitness schedule, allowing Sheila the chance to attend back-to-back classes. A student of Tai Chi off and on since the early 1980s, Sheila appreciates the coordination and fine motor movements required of the class. “Ralf (who teaches on Seated Tai Chi on Wednesdays 10:30-11:30) does a great job with that group!” You can find Sheila in class most Wednesdays. While you’re there, ask to see the graphics for the beautiful postcard she created!
The Jr. Road Warriors finished the 2018-2019 NWBA season at the National Invitational Tournament in Chicago, IL. The team wound up with an 8-8 record for the year and are still developing. We have no graduating seniors this year, so we expect almost the entire team to return (Theo Batty is moving to Texas).
We have a good group of kids with a few that have been together for several years and they are starting to develop great chemistry.
Ella Rodriguez, Garnett Silver-Hall, and Ben Thornton have taken most of the responsibilities for carrying the team this year, but they have some help on the horizon. Braulio Noriega and Zach Nazareno are two of the youngest members of the team and are developing into a couple of beasts. Braulio has incredibly fast hands and although he isn’t that big he has blocked shots in almost every game.
Zach is a gnat on the court. He is the smallest member of the team and, because of his speed and tenacity, he is generally responsible for defending the other team’s biggest players and keeping them from moving on the court.
He is only twelve and was the only member of the team to play every minute of every game at the National Tournament, showing how much we value and trust him on the court.
We are also expecting great things from Kumar Polk, Arianna Lohrer, Sage Burtis, and Avery Dauer.
Kumar, Arianna, and Sage played their first season this year and exceeded all expectations. Arianna and Sage are playing wheelchair sports for the first time and have changed from shy timid kids into fierce competitors and two kids that are constantly having a blast off the court with the team. Kumar played basketball before becoming paralyzed and brings a natural court awareness to the team.
Avery has been playing for years and continues to get better each year. This year he grew about a foot and has turned into a rebounding and defensive force.
As always, we expect to get a few new kids in the gym this year and will probably have one or two more kids to talk about soon when they join the team.
The Prep team (5-12 years old) continues to grow. This program feeds the varsity team and introduces kids to movement, structure, and teamwork on the court. For many of these kids, Prep basketball is the first time they’ve see another kid in a chair and they quickly gain the understanding that they are not alone.
Gabriella, Riley, Emanuel, Joseph, Kevin, Devan, and Joshua are names you will be hearing a lot more as they continue to develop within the program. These kids are the future and they work, play, and laugh incredibly hard each week on the court.
The Sharks Sled Hockey Team returned from Tampa as the Youth Sled Division II National Tournament Runner-Up.
The team was bumped up a division from the division they competed in the previous two years and the competition was fantastic.
The team played against teams from Colorado Springs, New York, Nashville, and Pittsburgh during the competition and advanced to the Championship game for the 3rd consecutive year.
An injury to Garnett Silver-Hall, our fastest skater, in the Championship Game forced the team to finish almost half the game with only four skaters. The four remaining skaters played their hearts out but simply could not break through the tough Pittsburgh defense.
Ben Thornton, Braulio Noriega, and Thomas Giovanola were forced to cover more ice than normal and take on more responsibility than they ever had in the past and they did amazing. Until the injury, Garnett continued to play well and cover a lot of the ice on both ends. He supported the defensive end and created on offense, using his speed. This year the team was led by twelve year old Zach Nazareno.
Zach brings the presence of a swatted bee to the ice. He was everywhere! He is the smallest player on the ice and when he locks onto a player, he makes things miserable for them. Because he is a double-leg amputee he can turn and move in small spaces incredibly fast and has developed into a great puck handler.
Our only graduating senior this year is Marcellus Garcia. Marcellus played basketball and hockey at the start of the season and then decided to focus on hockey. Marcellus became the goalie after Eyan Gilder graduated last year and played amazing this year.
He started the season 4-0 and continued to 6-0 after the first two games in Tampa. He made saves in every way imaginable, including blocking a couple of shots with his face. He had a great couple of years with the team and will be sticking around to practice with the team. That leads us directly to this:
That leads us directly to this:
HELP WANTED – Sled Hockey Goalie: Must be a high school Junior or below (to be eligible next year) with a permanent physical disability. Must have fast reflexes and tenacity, and be crazy enough to want to stop a frozen rubber puck at all cost.
Off the Court/Ice
It was an incredible year off the ice this season. We had five new kids play and travel with the teams. Some of these kids have had their disabilities their entire lives and some of these kids have acquired disabilities (trauma, cancer, etc.) but BORP brought them together.
They come from a variety of backgrounds and have banded together to become part of a bigger community that most of them did not know existed before finding BORP.
Now, instead of being overwhelmed with some of the day-to-day issues they face related to their disabilities, you hear them laughing about them in the gym. They embrace their collective differences and have found strength and unity in their team.
There are so many kids in the greater Bay Area who have physical disabilities. As a parent, the simple question is this: If you have a kid with a physical disability, wouldn’t you want your kid to have an opportunity to play, to work towards a goal, to make new friends and be treated like family by a group of kids within their same age range who are facing similar issues? That is what the BORP Youth Sports Program offers. We just do it in custom sports wheelchairs or hockey sleds. We have kids that have an amputation, slight spina bifida, mild CP, and other mobility impairing disabilities that do not require a kid to use a wheelchair on a regular basis. These kids only use a wheelchair when they play sports. These are the kids that generally excel in the sports programs and just like the rest of the kids, have a blast doing it.
The 16th BORP Hoops Classic was its usual full schedule of hooping heaven enhanced by the start to finish play-by-play of Steve Harwood and Bill Brobeck.
BORP All Stars went 4-2 and played with energy and commitment throughout the weekend. Standout offensive performances were turned in by Kenny Johnson, Sam Craven, Steve Lau and Troy Plunkett with the whole team contributing to the stingy defense. Coach Lai is to be commended for effectively juggling our huge roster, maintaining his positive leadership and relentlessly picking/screening to get our shooters good looks!
THANKS: In addition to the wonderful work of the announcers, we were supported by a stellar cast of volunteers and the generous hospitality of the Coast Guard. The excellent refereeing of Mario, Myles and Li keeps the games and schedule moving and their commitment to this event is greatly appreciated.
All Stars Individual scoring totals:
Thanks to Scot Goodman for the photo above of the BORP All Stars, the BORP Junior Road Warriors and announcers Steve and Bill.
Now that the rains are letting up it’s time to start planning some outdoor adventures. As Program Manager of BORP’s Access Northern California program, I was recently asked by the San Francisco Chronicle to list five parks primarily in Northern California that offered really good wheelchair access; in case you missed the article you can view it here. It was extremely difficult to narrow it down to five because there are lots of great parks that offer a variety of experiences and levels of accessibility. I chose these parks because they offered a wide range of features and one could spend several hours there, if not overnight. To locate more accessible parks and trails check out the Access Northern California website.
For several years, BORP has been working with UC Berkeley (Cal) to develop an adaptive sports program. Leading these efforts, was Jonathan Newman, BORP’s Adult Sports Programs Coordinator, who worked with Cal to provide goalball and some power soccer on its campus. At the same time, we were also encouraging Cal to create a staff position to oversee the program and give it the attention it needs to thrive. I’m delighted to report that UC Berkeley recently hired its first Inclusive Sports Director, Torre Meeks.
With a strong background in sports and education, Torre is passionate about making his program a success. He’s already working hard to gain support for the Cal goalball program and to get the campus fired up about adaptive sports. This Friday, March 15th, Cal will conduct its first Goalball Showcase. We’re very excited about Torre’s appointment and look forward to continuing our strong partnership to make an entire menu of adaptive sports a reality for Cal students.