Hi. My name is Kipp Watson and I love wheelchair basketball. It has been a commitment that has rewarded me aplenty with good strength and health. I remember the first time I played the game. It was at a camp in Hunter, New York. In the late 60's. Then there was this game at my high school, Francis Lewis High School, also in the late 60's, where my classmates Charles Klein and Sidney Rosenbloom and I played an exhitibition game, three on three against a field of athletic department teachers. By current standards, this game was actually pathetic, given a final of score of something like 6 - 4. I think we won. I'm not sure.
My first engagement with a real wheelchair basketball team was with the Brooklyn Whirlaways. That was in the early 70's. Bernie Hengber ran that show and he ran it very well. I was so privileged to play with this group that had over a dozen players, managers and coaches that ended up in the NWBA Hall of Fame. What I especially miss from the days of the Brooklyn Whirlaways is the idea that this was actually a solvent team that was able to cover the travel, hotel and staff costs of fielding a competitive team. Unfortunately this is not something that local wheelchair basketball players have ever experienced.
I subsequently played for Bulova Watchmakers, Goldwater Swipers, Rollin' Knicks and the Long Island Express. Then I moved to Rio Rancho from New Jersey and played with the Albuquerque Kings from about 2012 through to 2017.
I've seen a lot of wheelchair basketball games in a lot of different towns. I have to say that athletes in this sport have definitely evolved and become more impressive in terms of their overall athletic competitive skills.
I recently videotaped a series of foul shots that I took from a sports chair where I got eleven in a row. Not too shabby, considering that that ties Jeff Winkler's Guinness World Record set in 2013. This videotape has been submitted to Guinness World Record and I am waiting to hear from them as to whether I have tied Jeff's record. Sure, I'll keep you posted. Jeff, if you happen to come across this, let me know if you're interested in doing a joint charity fundraising event with a theme of 11 in a row.
I think that yoga and daily meditation, love of music and science, good food intake (I am a vegetarian) and regular exercise interspaced with regular rest are key to becoming an elite athlete.
As the Owner of the Rio Rancho Road Runners, I look forward to working with you and others to promote the sport of wheelchair basketball and, more importantly, to work towards a future where the elite athlete is recognized as such, without regard to the presence or absence of a physical impairment.