We find that it is easy to tell who uses a wheelchair every day and who is just using one for today's game. Some of the players are disabled vets, and others are U-M students who are experiencing what it is like to be in a wheelchair. The players who normally use wheelchairs are much faster, more nimble, more aggressive.
The action is fast and fluid, moving back and forth across the court. Teamwork is central, as chairs are more easily pinned and blocked than players on foot. When players crash their wheelchairs into one another, the sound of clanging metal ricochets through the air. When players fall, the audience holds its breath. The first two players to fall clamber back up with no problem, but the third falls at an odd angle, and it takes three people to lift him back upright again. We all applaud, but I can't help but reflect on the fragility of our bodies, the price these veterans have paid for their service, and the great courage and spirit of these individuals.
Sobering and inspiring.
There are also performances by the U-M Dance Team, the U-M Tri-Service Color Guard, the U-M Men's Glee Club, and the 338th Army Band, as well as a silent auction and a speech by a U-M regent. Everyone sings happy birthday to one player's young son. We are all family here.