Crisler Center will be rocking well before the official start of the college basketball season.
Paralympians, ROTC cadets, students, veterans, active-duty service members and area law enforcement volunteers will take to the court Oct. 9 for the 11th annual Army-Navy Wheelchair Basketball Game.
The game is free to the public and parking also is free. Doors open at 2 p.m. with tip-off at 3 p.m.
The yearly contest serves as an opportunity to raise awareness for disabilities, especially among veterans, and to unofficially kick off the university’s annual Investing in Ability celebration. The theme for 2016 is “Diversity includes disability.”
“This event serves as a great way to honor our veterans and active-duty military members, while having a fun time and showcasing their abilities,” says Gerald Hoff, the game’s founder and organizer.
“Ultimately that’s what this event is about — showing that these participants aren’t defined by their disabilities and doing that in a fun, family-friendly setting.”
This year’s contest will bring a host of talented athletes and personalities to the hardwood, and an entertainment lineup that will keep fans enthused before, during and after the game, Hoff says.
“We’re honored to be joined this year by Paralympian Scot Severn and former Paralympian Paul Schulte, who was an analyst for NBC in this summer’s Rio Paralympics and the former captain of Team USA. We’ll also have so many members of the U-M community and other outstanding people,” he says.
The U-M dance and cheer teams will be on hand keeping the arena energized, while DJ Scholar keeps the hottest music playing throughout Crisler. The 338th U.S. Army Band will perform a special show during halftime.
Ted Spencer, former associate vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions and current senior adviser to the provost, will serve as the grand marshal for the event. Previous grand marshals include former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, Regent Kathy White and Ronald Warhurst, a two-time Purple Heart recipient and former U-M men’s track and field head coach.
“I think this, the 11th annual game, will be the best one yet. We’re looking forward to all the energy that the fans and participants will bring and we’re excited that this event can serve as one of the kickoffs to the university’s monthlong Investing in Ability celebration,” Hoff says.