Tacoma's wheelchair basketball team headed to national tournament

Metro Parks Tacoma’s National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) team, the Tacoma Titans, will compete at Nationals March 22-25. This marks the Titans’ first trip to the NWBA National tournament held at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo. Fundraising efforts are now underway to support the team with expenses for the eight athletes, two coaches and 16 wheelchairs to travel to the competition.

The Tacoma Titans are part of Metro Parks’ Adaptive Recreation program, which offers unique competitive and recreational athletic opportunities for wounded war veterans and others with physical disabilities. Named as a Paralympic Sport Club in 2009 by the US Olympic Committee, this program allows Metro Parks Tacoma to train athletes for specific Paralympic events, such as wheelchair basketball.

“We are the only Paralympic Sport Club in the South Sound Region,” said Parker Ayers, Metro Parks Tacoma Adaptive Recreation Specialist. “Our partnership with Joint Base Lewis McChord Warrior Transition Battalion enables us to serve many of the active-duty and veteran soldiers — two of whom play for the Titans — who have been wounded in combat.”

The NWBA National Tournament is a premier event for competitive wheelchair basketball – where teams travel from around the country to compete on a national level and for a chance to compete at the National Championship. This is the Tacoma Titans’ second year as a NWBA team and the first year they’ve been eligible to compete at Nationals. The team is comprised of eight players (ages 18-34) and two coaches from the South Sound area. The Team now seeks support from the local community and hometown fans to help them take the title.

The Greater Metro Parks Foundation is hosting a fundraising event March 10, at noon, at Gray Middle School, 6229 S. Tyler, in South Tacoma to support the team at their last home game before heading to the National Tournament. All proceeds from this event will aid in travel costs, as well as future training throughout the year. Corporate and team sponsorship opportunities are available in the amounts of $250, $500, and $1,000. Donation inquiries should be directed to the Greater Metro Parks Foundation online at http://www.metroparksfoundation.org/donation.php or by calling Metro Parks Tacoma Resource Development at (253) 305-1077.

An off-the-court fundraiser is also taking place at Moctezuma’s Restaurant, 4102 S. 56th Street, in Tacoma March 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fans can meet and greet the players, have some fun, and enjoy great food. Moctezuma’s will donate 20 percent of proceeds to the Titans.