By Christen McCluney
The Warrior Games, which are being held May 10-14, 2010, at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are a sports competition for wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and is a joint effort by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Marine Corps will send a team of 50 athletes and 10 alternates that will compete in events including archery, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
Maj. Susan Stark, head coach for the Marine team said that these athletes are really inspiring because when most people are injured they don’t get in to athletics.
“The Marines are going to do great,” Stark said. “We make sure it’s fun, rewarding and they represent the Marine Corps, they do all three. The bonus is they get to compete.”
Billy Demby, a Vietnam Veteran, and Paralympics athlete is coaching the Marine team to success. Demby who is a a double-leg amputee himself said one of the biggest challenges he has faced is the varying experience levels. Some members on the squad have been playing basketball all of their lives and others as recent as two weeks.
“Guys that have experience are of course easier to teach,” he said. “But these are a great bunch of guys.”
One of his proudest moments was recently when the team played against a wheel chair team in San Antonio and only lost by a few points. “Even though we lost it was by a short margin and to a team with two national players,” he said.”This shows that we have the talent.”
Tim Lang one of the team members who will be playing at the games also expressed his excitement for playing in Colorado Springs.
“I’m very excited. A lot of us were prior athletes before our injuries and this really gives us an outlet and puts us back in the field of sports.”