Off the Crossebar Podcast with Ryan Baker: The fastest game on two wheels, wheelchair lacrosse could be coming to a city near you
February 9th, 2013 by Teddy Jenner
Former Knighthawk Shawn Williams gets a new perspective on lacrosse recently with the guys from Wheelchair Lacrosse.
Imagine not being able to play lacrosse. Not because you lost your pads, stick, or you don’t have a team in your area. But because you are a paraplegic. Known as the fastest game on two feet, having the use of your legs is a very logical and integral part of playing lacrosse. Well, a group of athletes in the United States has not let the inability to run stop them from playing the game we all love.
The boys over at wheelchair lacrosse, are starting a movement, it’s gaining momentum and with four teams established in the U.S., they’ve already made some amazing and progressive steps to growing wheelchair lax into anther popular and fast growing version, with plans to get even bigger. Ryan Baker joins me this week to talk about the inception of the game, how he got started and even talks about playing against some of the game’s best players, on their turf.
It’s an inspiring and cool story about how these guys are doing their part to grow the game and help spread the word about wheelchair lacrosse, all right here on the OTCB Podcast.
While it’s still in its infancy, wheelchair lacrosse has already traveled the continent and gained some great exposure but if you haven’t heard about the newest form of lax, don’t be ashamed. I hadn’t heard about it until late last year when it showed up on my Twitter feed. But after checking their website and seeing some of their videos, I knew it was something that we all needed to get behind and support. It didn’t take long for the NLL and some CLA teams to get involved.
“These guy are such great lacrosse players that once they got the ball in their stick, it was hard to get it away from them but seeing them struggle with maneuvering the wheelchair evened out the playing field,” chuckled Baker, who is one of the main guys behind Wheelchair Lacrosse. So far the they’ve had a couple of opportunities to play against some of the top indoor players in the world. One game against some NLL pros including Dan Dawson, Dan Teat and Shawn Williams and then another game where they played a group of lacrosse players from Six Nations Arrows Jr A lacrosse team.
With four teams based in four different U.S. cities, the game has a strong foundation and they have plans to add more with more players and hope to see the game played at a World Championships level. But they obviously need more players to join. Having a lacrosse background is not essential. Baker was as wheelchair tennis player before he was introduced to lacrosse and has been hooked ever since. Other players came from rugby, basketball, track and field wheelchair sports and had never picked up a lacrosse stick. While some have played lacrosse before but are now recently restricted to the chair and are getting involved.
The boys over at Wheelchair Lacrosse have a bright future ahead of them and any and all help would be greatly appreciated as they could always use donated equipment and sticks.
From the fastest game on two feet, to the fastest game on two wheels, the game of lacrosse continues to be the best sport in the world for anyone and everyone.
This week’s podcast is one that we are thrilled to bring you and hope to hear more from the boys at Wheelchair Lacrosse in the future; so enjoy this week’s Off the Crossebar Podcast with Ryan Baker from Wheelchairlacrosse.com
Teddy Jenner is one the leading sources for lacrosse information. He comes by his love of lax honestly with a lifetime of experience, two Mann Cup championships and six years of play in the NLL. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @OffTheCrosseBar or catch him on Team 1410 radio in Vancouver, B.C., as the host and producer of the Off the Crosse-Bar Radio Show In 2012, he was awarded the BCLA’s Norm Wright Merit Award- handed out to a member of the media deemed to have have contributed to the promotion of lacrosse.
Sports and Spokes Article – One of the oldest team sports in North America is growing in popularity among wheelchair athletes
Click here for full article. http://pvamag.com/sns/article/5309/wheelchair_lacrosse
Wheelchair Lacrosse Online
Exclusive posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 – 10:23am By Alex Adams
One of the oldest team sports in North America is growing in popularity among wheelchair athletes
With the growing popularity of lacrosse within the past few years, it’s odd that its presence seems to be lacking in the world of adaptive sports. That’s something
Ryan Baker, founder of the non-profit organization Wheelchair Lacrosse USA, is striving to change. Baker, having participated in team sports throughout his childhood, took interest in lacrosse because it didn’t seem to be an option for wheelchair athletes. He thought there should be more choices for athletes in wheelchairs.
“Our goal is to create the opportunity and give these guys a chance to try something different,” says Baker.
Wheelchair Lacrosse USA works with other non-profit organizations in different cities that already have access to athletes in wheelchairs, equipment and venues to host camps in hopes of creating teams. Four teams have been established from such camps in Denver, San Diego, Atlanta and Richmond.
Anyone interested is welcome to participate in the camps, according to Baker. Guys who have been training for years come out, as well as guys who have never played before. It’s not difficult to learn, the rules for the adaptive version of the sport are virtually the same as the able-bodied version. It’s also relatively inexpensive to play; all you need is a stick, a helmet and some padding. The same wheelchairs used in wheelchair basketball are used for wheelchair lacrosse.
Baker and co-founder Bill Lundstrom hope to create a national league with a season, tournaments, different conferences and a national championship – just like already-established adaptive sports such as basketball and rugby. They hope to have 20 teams in the next three years, according to Baker, and a team in every major city.
Having recently attended the US Lacrosse National Convention in Philadelphia, Baker and Lundstrom had the opportunity to continue getting word out about Wheelchair Lacrosse USA.
“The able-bodied lacrosse community is incredibly supportive of what we’re doing,” says Baker. Between the able-bodied lacrosse community and the tight-knit adaptive sporting community, word-of-mouth will more than likely be a successful way for Wheelchair Lacrosse USA to flourish.
The take-home message from the guys behind Wheelchair Lacrosse USA is simply this: Everyone should be doing something. “It’s not going to be for everybody,” says Baker. “As long as people are doing something, that’s really what we want.”
For more information about Wheelchair Lacrosse USA, visit http://www.wheelchairlacrosse.com/ Wheelchair Lacrosse USA’s Ryan Baker discusses the finer points of wheelchair lacrosse.
Link to the full article http://www.newmobility.com/browse_thread.cfm?blogid=19&id=459
Wheelchair lacrosse teams to expand
Jan 22 03:35
Wheelchair lacrosse is looking to expand big time, and their new promo video showcasing the veracity of the sport I have no doubt will certainly help their end goal. This gritty 6 minute video is worth every minute of your time. It’s not looking for sympathy or even yo only inform, it’s looking to change perceptions of of how able-bodied people look at their sport.
Ryan Baker, a paraplegic from California, is the founder of Wheelchair Lacrosse USA and is the one behind trying to get a team in every major city across the country (even worldwide). He and his closest buddies (other players on his California team) are featured in the video with each of them talking about their story and why wheelchair lacrosse changed their lives. And it’s such a well done video; great music, professionally done, and it hits home. It’s refreshing to see a video done so well on any disability-related subject (which unfortunately can be difficult to find).
If you’re not familiar with lacrosse, no it’s not an elitist sport. In fact, it doesn’t require too much expensive equipment to play. To jog your memory, it’s a sport where the players hold a long stick with a net on the end and then run/wheel up and down the field tossing the ball to one another, trying to get the ball into the net at the end of the field (just like soccer). All you need is a stick, a helmet and some padding. Not too expensive to play, and the rules are pretty much the same with the adapted version of the sport.
This is why I found it surprising that this sport isn’t included in the Paralympics roster of sports. Players of course would love to see it become one (who doesn’t want to be recognized at that level? But it has yet to happen). But that hasn’t stopped them in any way of course. If you visit their official web site, you’ll see that the sport is busier than ever. They just had a training camp in fact this month in New York City. And this is all in an effort to get as many people in wheelchairs aware of the sport is possible. It’s not it found as often in rehab centers (not everybody is into basketball).
Interested in trying the sport? Definitely contact the folks at Wheelchair Lacrosse USA and express interest in getting involved – first seeing if you like the sport, and if so bringing a wheelchair lacrosse team to your town. You never know; they may be open to smaller cities in you’re really interested in playing (and don’t live near a big metro).
Have you tried wheelchair lacrosse? What kind of gear do you have wear? Do you think it has a chance of becoming a sport the AB public might love?
- Watch their new promo video
- Visit their site: Wheelchair Lacross USA
Live demos, wheelchair lacrosse, recruiting session also among Day 2 events
Great press from the Convention