The Bolton Bulls wheelchair basketball club provides wheelchair basketball to people of all ages, disabilities and gender from all over the North West of England including Bolton, Bury, Blackburn, Wigan and Stockport.
More fundraising fun was had this weekend with Bolton Bulls as we headed to Bolton Marketplace to put on a demonstration and shake our collection bucket.
Mrs Chairman had managed to loan a couple of hoops from the kind folks at Decathlon. We have to salute them, they didn't hesitate to spring into action when the call was made and went above and beyond the call of duty by offering to wheel 2 basketball hoops through the centre of Bolton to the display area. Not only that, they came and picked them up again afterwards! We can't recommend Decathlon Bolton enough for their customer service, we'll definitely be using them again. Now about that sponsorship guys?? ;-)
Back to the hoops. They weren’t regulation height, in the hopes that this would reduce the possibility of us breaking any of the many, many windows. A theory that Chairman Steve promptly disproved by putting his first shot way too high and almost destroyed a juice bar (I’m exaggerating, but never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, I say).
I would later top that by crashing through a barrier whilst trying to demonstrate dribbling skills that, it turns out, I don’t have. One of the basketballs made a bid for freedom and nearly ended up riding the escalator.
So, when we weren’t trying to wreck the place, what did we do? Well, many youngsters got to try their hand at wheelchair basketball, and learn a few skills along the way.
Many of them took to passing drills really well (much better than yours truly, who still gets regularly pie-faced by the ball); including more complex drills like “caterpillar”: A drill that requires not only accurate passing but quick movement of the chair, not easy to do when you’re new; and “pepper-pot”: A drill I’m almost certain is designed to scare the life out of newbies. When done at full pace, it’s terrifying.
It was great to see the kids enjoying themselves, especially as it’s a sport that they probably wouldn't have got the chance to try out. Many of them came back for second and third goes! One young man exclaimed: “You make this look easy.” It’s certainly the one thing that people are surprised by most, how much skill and concentration goes into simple things like dribbling the ball and being in control of the chair at all times. Once you’re in a sports chair and moving at pace, suddenly something as simple as catching the ball becomes quite a task. Teaching the mad skills Talking tactics...or is that tictacs? That’s the purpose of demos, to give an insight into the sport, and hopefully create a few new fans and maybe even new players. The other purpose of course was to raise funds for the coming season; and I’m very pleased to say that the shoppers of Bolton were incredibly generous and donated a total of £216.36. We also got in the Bolton News again, the paper sent down a roving reporter and a photographer to get some info about the day. Bolton FM sent their crew down to do some Vox Pops and interviewed Chairman Steve. We were only slightly stunned that the poor chap thought he was being wound up about wheelchair basketball being a real sport. He knows better now! Thanks go to the staff at Bolton Marketplace. Firstly for getting in touch and offering us the spot in the first place. But, also because they were extremely helpful on the day arranging the demo area and directing folks our way. Finally thanks to the vital support members of the team who took time out of their Saturday to come and shake buckets, rattle cans and hand out leaflets. Couldn't have done it without you. I hope that everyone who joined in enjoyed themselves and that those who stopped by to watch were entertained. I certainly hope we can do it again soon.