Eaux de Cologne
On Saturday June 20th our youngest team wheelchair basketball went to a Try-Out organized by our German Wheelchair basketball colleagues at the home location of Koln99’ers in Cologne ….
Junior Bears on Wheels is our absolute-junior team consisting of 12 super-motivated kids aged between 5 ½ and a whopping 12 years of age. Right … super-duper young this is … but extremely motivated to make this a success. Here is how we approached the day-out with our German friends.
Needless to say that some of our kids simply didn’t sleep the night before … It all started Saturday June 20th by loading up our little bus with the wheelchairs and, of course, the kids. Some of the players drove separately with the parents, others came with our bus I was the happy-chosen to drive. Driving this calls up ancient memories of school trips where fun and excitement prevailed. We went from our location Pellenberg (close to Leuven) at about 7:15 direction Cologne which we reached after about two and a half hours drive, smoothly, not too much traffic. In city our GPS went crazy … causing us a couple of turnarounds and a little delay … but we got safely to the venue … where we have been welcomed by Sedat and Jutta … and met for the first time Freddy (my brother in crime…), the trainer assigned to our group.
Once on the court, it all felt quite comfortable and Freddy gave some explanations about what we were going to face that day … this Freddy (me that means !) as well as Heidi and Danny – both parents from a few of the kids – tried to translate from German into Flemish as well as we could … all together it went well as “basket language” (meaning ‘showing’) is quite universal.
After a few little hick-ups and a ‘flat’ which was professionally fixed by a local engineer, we all got the hang of it ! Amélie drove into the wall – not intentionally of course – and it went from one game to another … all with the intention to learn as much as we could … our three most powerfull guys were taken into a second group with German colleagues with a second trainer on duty.
A little tired we reached lunchtime and tasted a few open sandwiches prepared by the local staff, cherry cake which was much appreciated as the healthy food J
After lunch it’s getting serious … we went step by step further into playing games with the basketball which finally got us all involved in short ‘matches’ … three teams competing. Yes, our little ones missed some of the strength of other players but … never gave up ! Even our absolute youngest, Isaak, sometimes in tears, couldn’t be demoted as he returned over and over again into the play.
The final touch was a short game of “the adults” against “all the rest” … not fair, I admit, but what can you do with 5 adults against 20 kids … right … you understand I am shure !!
Around 16:30 we rounded up for the day and after receiving a Passport and “Urkunde” we drove back home … yet … of course without forgetting to stop for a quick bite (not healthy food this time) which was enthousiastically applauded by the whole gang.
Thank you, German colleagues for offering us this opportunity … and yes … when I ask the kids … they want to do this again, sure thing.
JBOW - Leuven