BC hosts Big Cheese Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

Sophia Sun, Reporter

The local Milwaukee Heat wheelchair basketball team came dribbling down the courts of Brookfield Central for the first annual Big Cheese Classic Devember 13 and 14 of 2014. The Milwaukee Heat is a program in collaboration with IndependenceFirst, an organization that empowers those that are disabled, and it provides young athletes with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their talent under the hoops. Basketball teams from across the country were invited to participate in the two-day tournament, with athletes of all ages coming together to compete in the paralympic sporting event.

Having been introduced in the mid 1940’s, wheelchair basketball is a relatively new concept. Following World War II, many paralyzed veterans found themselves limited to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives. However, this did not stop them from seeking opportunities to participate in sports. The necessary athleticism and fast pace involved in basketball did not discourage paralyzed players. It is included in the Paralympic Games held every four years and also has its own World Championships every two years, following the Paralympic Games. Now, events such as the Brookfield Big Cheese Classic are bringing more awareness to the emerging sport of wheelchair basketball.

Of the ten players on the Milwaukee Heat team, two were students from Brookfield Central. Emily Oberst (‘16) and James McCloskey (‘15) participated in the varsity division of the tournament. Because of the generous help and support from the Brookfield Central Key Club and Brookfield Central Booster Club, the event was open to the public for free admission both days.