Firefighters can douse blazes, but can they play wheelchair basketball?
The community is invited to find out Saturday, when members of the and Arlington Heights fire departments take on the Chicago Wheelchair Bulls. All players will use wheelchairs as they maneuver across the court in the name of charity.
The event is the third annual one organized by the Chicago Wheelchair Bulls, who practice in Addison and travel across the country for competitions. The team is ranked 12th among 70 teams in two U.S. divisions, said Arlington Heights resident Seth Goldberg, a team member and event organizer.
To hit the court with firefighters is “absolutely amazing,” Goldberg said. “They work very hard day in and day out to fight fires, but it’s not often they get in a wheelchair and play.”
While the players may get competitive, Goldberg said Saturday’s exhibition game is just for fun.
“We don’t want people to see us beating up the firefighters,” he said. “We have more experience than they do. It’s a whole evening of laughter.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Chicago Wheelchair Bulls, but the event serves a dual purpose. Goldberg said he hopes the game will help raise awareness in the community and ease any discomfort that able-bodied people feel when they meet someone with a disability.
“We don’t want the kids to be afraid of us, or of people with disabilities, period,” Goldberg said. “There are just too many adults that don’t understand people with disabilities.
“It’s OK for your child to ask me (about my disability). I don’t want them to be afraid of me,” he said. “It’s better off that your child learns at a young age versus when they’re in high school.
“We want this society and this world to be different in a better way.”
Saturday’s game, which will take place at Miner School, 1101 East Miner St., Arlington Heights, is open to the public. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the game starts at 7 p.m.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students with an I.D., and $3 for children younger than 5. Refreshments and T-shirts will be available for purchase and a raffle and silent auction will be held.