By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom
Keep that tune in your mind when you come to see the Army wheelchair basketball team play. They plan to advance and complete their mission. What is their mission? The gold medal.
SGT Daniel Biskey is back and he is going for the gold medal. Last year, Biskey and his team won the wheelchair basketball silver medal in the 2010 Warrior Games. He has had his mind set on this year’s event since the defeat to the Marines. To prepare for the 2011 Warrior Games, he played wheelchair basketball four days a week and hand cycled whenever possible. Being a tough competitor, he was only saddened that he had to limit to two events. He would prefer to compete in all of them.
Indeed, SGT Biskey, and all of his team mates are a force to contend with on and off the playing field. Biskey has demonstrated his resiliency in many facets of his life and has overcome great challenges. For example, in November 2009, SGT Biskey was injured in Afghanistan while on foot patrol. During that mission he stepped on a mine that exploded and resulted in a left leg below the knee amputation. To talk with him now, the mission continues and he hopes to find a new way to serve.
This week SGT Biskey is training with his battle buddies on the court. These ten players have never met each other before, but they are kindred spirits and instant friends. They are the seasoned warriors and their level of training is clear. With the leadership of wheelchair basketball Coaches Doug Garner and SGT Alonzo Lunsford, the team metamorphosed from playing as individuals to jelling as a force that took ground and learned tactical ways of working together. And this was just the first day.
The game mimics life in many ways. During coaching sessions, Performance Enhancement Specialist Richard Harris of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program asked the team to write goals. As they did, he spoke about the power of the mind and the connection with the body. He said their program has noted that there are five conditions that work toward a high level of performance. These are: confidence, goal setting, attention control, energy management, and imagery. He said these are mental skills and like physical skills, they can get stronger with practice. To get mentally tough, he said the daily strengthening of these conditions will bring out the best in each athlete, and their physical performance will follow. These suggestions are not just for use during the game of basketball, but for the Soldiers and Veterans to use long after the game is over.
What were the players’ goals? SGT Devon Maston said, “First, I want to win no doubt. But I want to have fun winning. Second, I want to become a better player and a better person. Third, I want to be there to help my teammates on and off the court.”
Without a doubt, they are already gold in my book.