Jones's Team Wins Wheelchair Basketball Junior Division
By Veronica Jones
Freshman Charles Jones and his teammates are the JV Eastern Conference Champs in the Wheelchair Basketball League Junior Division. Physical Education instructor, Mr. Gonzalez, has been Jones's advocate.
"It all started when I took my first semester of gym," said Jones. "I would be playing ball during my class period and then one day, Mr. Gonzalez asked if I would like to play for a team. Without a doubt, I took the offer."
Gonzalez researched wheelchair-able teams around the District and was lucky to find one near Jones's neighborhood. Jones attended the tryout and was chosen.
As part of the team's agreement, Jones will bring his trophy and a poster of the team to the school to showcase them for one week.
"I'm really excited about the trophy," said Jones, "but they can keep it on display for as long as they like, because with or without a trophy, I'm a ball player, first and foremost."
Jones's plans for next year have already been established.
"There are approximately ten of us on the team and we are all going to be varsity players next year," Jones said. "According to the roster, I will be the starter for the team. It's exciting to absorb the fact that I've only been playing for the team for four months and have accomplished so much already."
Gonzalez hopes for continued success for Jones for the upcoming year.
"I need for Charles to be straight up on his grades," he said "He has no time to slack off. I also hope that he'll take his skills to the Junior Paralympics. He belongs there."
Jones has also been thinking about the Paralympics, but has a different way of going about it.
"I plan to tryout for the Junior Paralympics next year, but I'd much prefer if they'd call me instead of me just showing up," said Jones.
Basketball has been Jones's drug of choice for the past four years. He commends Mr. Gonzalez for his continuous support and inspiration.
"Without a doubt, I wouldn't be where I am today without Mr. Gonzalez," he said. "I owe him for everything. My biggest dream is to have a home game so that he may attend it and see the product of what he delivered. I am his product."
The feelings between Jones and Gonzalez are mutual.
"I am so proud of Charles," said Gonzalez. "When I recognize talent, I try my best to influence the person to push harder. In this case, Charles was one who listened."
By Anna Kinsman |
June 2, 2008; 3:23 PM ET
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