Wheelchair basketball program expands

Travis Greene, a Marine veteran, decided Boise needed a “more permanent” wheelchair basketball team.

Every Tuesday night a group gathers at the Rec center courts to play a game of wheelchair basketball. They stay till about eight o’clock, making shots into the evening.

Greene attended Boise State and then joined the U.S. Marine Corps. After getting injured, he returned to Boise and finished his degree. He was introduced to wheelchair basketball around the same time he came back to Boise.

Greene said he was “stubborn at first” when approached with wheelchair basketball. Yet, those around him pushed him to try it out.

“I didn’t have a choice,” Greene said. “I did it and had fun.”

Greene’s been playing, and coaching, ever since.

Realizing Boise didn’t have much of a wheelchair basketball program, Greene decided to initiate one. Having gone to Boise State, Greene knew the Rec center would be a good place to play. He got in contact with Boise State, worked it out and the Tuesday night tradition began.

Greene attended his last Tuesday night wheelchair basketball game on November 19 because he is moving to California where he already has a traveling wheelchair basketball team lined up. His replacement, Kevin Falk, took over that same night.

Greene seemed to enjoy not having to act as coach for one night.

“It’s kind of nice. I don’t have to do anything,” Greene said.

Falk, who has taken on the leadership role for the program, lost his leg in a motorcycle accident five years ago. Falk was introduced to the program by Greene.

According to Falk, Greene simply came up to him one day and asked if he’d like to play a game of wheelchair basketball. Since then, Falk’s   has been involved in the program.

Wheelchair basketball, and all the other sports he’s now involved in, have really opened up opportunities for Falk.

“I play more sports now with one leg than I did with two,” Falk said.

Falk has plans for the program. He hopes to encourage one of the program’s regular players—Boise State sophomore William Negri—to start a club for Boise State students. He thinks that will open an avenue for students to consistently get involved.

Usually a few regular players show up on Tuesday nights,-such as Negri- but according to Falk there’s usually new people every week. Often the regular players go around the courts recruiting other students playing on the floor.

One of Falk’s main goals for the program is to get more people playing. One major idea to accomplish this is the student club.

Negri believes a wheelchair basketball club for Boise State students could help bring more consistency to the program and Tuesday night games.

Negri, an undecided major, thinks the all-inclusive, team-based atmosphere of wheelchair basketball would be good for Boise State students.

“I think it’d be a good experience,” Negri said.

Negri heard about the wheelchair basketball program during his freshman orientation at Boise State and started playing three months ago.

“(Wheelchair basketball])is a lot of blisters, a lot of band-aids, but it’s worth it,”
Negri said.

Falk’s hope for the Boise State student club plays into his desire to integrate wheelchair basketball into the Boise community. The 53 year-old says he loves Boise State and being involved in the community. This basketball program provides another way to be involved.

The Tuesday night games begin at five and have the floor till eight. They’re open to everyone.

About the author  ⁄ cheyenneperry