On Nov. 16 Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity along with the Adapted Physical Education Club and other sponsors held a wheelchair basketball tournament in the Purple Gym to raise awareness of people with disabilities and wheelchair sports.The tournament raised money for three organizations;Push for America, which is Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy was one of them. An organization started in 1977 by brothers of Pi Kappa Phi, the organization aims to raise awareness, fundraise and volunteer directly with people with all types of disabilities. The tournament also raised money for the Magee 76ers and Katie’s Komets which are two local wheelchair basketball teams. The 76ers is for adults while Katie’s Komets is a junior team the event helped raise 315 dollars. In addition to giving to these organizations, Pi Kappa Phi also presented a check to representatives from Camp Abilities ,which is their fundraising relationship in the community as part of something called the Circle of Giving Grant.
The tournament had nine teams participate from many organizations including Pi Kappa Phi, Delta Zeta, Adapted Physical Education Club plus other students. The High Street Heroes, which was a team made up of Pi Kappa Phi Brothers claimed victory while Delta Zeta came in second place. According to Pi Kappa Phi President Matt Costa, the tournament encouraged participants to appreciate the abilities that wheelchair athletes and people with disabilities in general have. Representatives from both the Komets and the 76ers were in attendance at the tournament and out of the six players required on the court for each team, two of them were from either the Komets or the 76ers. This encouraged positive interaction between the athletes and WCU students.
“We could not make a dime, but if we raise awareness it’s worth it,” Costa said.
The tournament was created by West Chester sophomore Keilah McNaughton, whose older brother Tom has played wheelchair basketball for a number of years. McNaughton came up with the idea for the tournament because she has noticed that people with disabilities are often ignored and playing sports can make them feel empowered. She also wanted to change people’s perceptions of those with disabilities and thinks that meeting the wheelchair athletes could empower the WCU community to raise awareness about disabilities and appreciate their own abilities. This was McNaughton’s second time hosting the tournament. Last semester the event was held to raise money for the Wheelchair Foundation, which provides wheelchairs to disadvantaged people in other countries. McNaughton hopes to make the tournament an annual event and collaborated with Pi Kappa Phi and Adapted Physical Education Club. McNaughton got a good reception from participants who thought that playing wheelchair basketball was more fun than they anticipated.
Samantha Greenberg is majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at SG655862@wcupa.edu.