After all, the real reason why we’re in Germany is because of John and his amazing basketball talent. With John I’ve truly never seen such talent and passion in a person. He literally eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. I could never ask him to stop-that would be living proof that I’m crazy. Basketball keeps him sane and after every practice session and every game he keeps wanting more from it-whether he’s trying to teach a triple-switch or talking with coach about what plays to run. His intensity scares and pisses some people off, but that’s just because they don’t know how to handle him. First of all if you’re gonna play with John you can’t be a baby on or off the court. You’ve got to be a man. He’s serious about this game and gives his heart and body to it. And by body I mean literally diving in front of balls, falling out of his chair and getting right back up in the blink of an eye to just get a single block or rebound. John is most certainly one of the fastest and most entertaining guys you will ever see push onto the court. Without a doubt, no questions asked. You’ve got to see him to believe it. He pushes and pushes and pushes. It’s like he’s playing for his life, and that’s every day not just when he feels like it. This is his passion. This is his life. And now I’m right in the middle of it and I love it.
About a year before I met John, I was on the UTA Women’s Soccer team and we needed to do community service hours. So volunteering at the UTA Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball (John’s college team) tournament working behind the score table seemed to be the coolest and funnest way to get it done and we’ve never done it before so we said yes. Mind you, this was the first time I’ve been at a score table and the first time I’ve ever watched wheelchair basketball. So the head coach of the Movin’ Mavs asked me and another teammate if we could do the score sheet for two games…Shit. Naturally, as I am a people pleaser I said “sure, why not.” Thinking to myself don’t screw this up, don’t screw this up. I was then walked through the meticulous score sheet by the coach and was now sweating through my shirt. Let’s just say it was a little rocky, but it was our first time. Oh well, we did good enough because they asked us to continue and do the next game. So at this point I was feeling more confident than before so I could relax a tad. Then, it happened. It sounds cliché but I saw him. I saw number 33 push out of the locker room and onto the court. And wow. Sporting that blue and orange uniform I was instantly smitten. His tenastic mannerisms and intense leadership during pregame warm ups along with his take-charge attitude during the game made it hard for anyone not to notice him. Especially me. So game two rolls around and it’s time to score again. Needless to say I made sure that I did a better job because there was a handsome fella playing so I wanna do a good job. So I tried. And I did better, not great, but better-like a smidge and a half better. I felt bad because I was confused doing the sheet and I couldn’t tell any teammates, coaches or refs that I was watching 33. I had a crush and that was all. I wasn’t some creeper just utterly impressed.
So after the first tournament I was wanting to do more games for them and so we did as a team. We actually went over the maximum community service hours for the season and ended up winning an award for it. From then, I continued to score games for the Movin’ Mavs up until I finished college and got pretty good at it. In fact, for the 2014 National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball championship game the Movin’ Mavs were playing and I got booted off the score table after scoring the whole tournament because I wasn’t an official. Boo. Oh well at least I got to cheer! Also, for the record and a better understanding of when John and I got together, we had only just become an ‘exclusive’ couple (is that what people say?) for a month before the national championship game which was in March. That would only put us together ‘exclusively’ for one month. HA. I still find it funny that John and I didn’t meet through basketball. It was a bid day frat party in October 2013 that I attended with our mutual friend and former teammate of mine, Lindsay Wilson that I owe it all to. If anything soccer brang us together. Even bigger HA. What a small world right?
From that point on wheelchair basketball is not only John’s passion, it’s mine too. I can’t imagine a day in our lives that basketball isn’t a part of it. We’re especially grateful for the places we have gone, the opportunities that we’ve been given and the people that we’ve met because of wheelchair basektball. Coming to Germany to play for the Köln 99ers is nothing short of a dream come true and we’re eternally gracious. No matter if he’s 60 years old and grey I will still want him to play. No matter what I will still want him to play. Hopefully in the years to come, he won’t just be playing but will be making a difference in the wheelchair basketball world and in the disabled sports community. One day John wishes to start a nonprofit and I have every intention of helping him and being there every step of the way. This is our life.