Murderball tournament this weekend
The sport is so rough, it was initially called Murderball. It’s often called Quad Rugby in the U.S., because it is played by quadriplegics. But it is internationally known as Wheelchair Rugby, because
“You can’t really market ‘Murderball’ to corporate sponsors.”
The game is a tough, give-no-quarter game. … Any misconceptions about quads and helplessness are quickly eliminated as soon as someone sees the game…
The hometown team, the Tampa Generals, is hosting the 16th Annual Coloplast International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament this weekend, January 18 – 20, at All Peoples Center, 6105 E. Sligh Avenue, next to King High School. Games will be played indoors on two basketball courts simultaneously, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Friday, 10:00 – 4:00 on Saturday, and 10:00 – 2:30 on Sunday, with the Final Game starting at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. (See schedule & directions)
The Tampa Generals boast a long, illustrious history in Wheelchair Rugby. The 18-year-old team has spawned several Paralympic gold-medal winners, including their current coach, Dave Ceruti, on the left in this photo with Justin Stark, the team representative. Justin’s the guy to contact if you’d like to support Tampa’s team with time or money, or just come help out at a Saturday practice now and then.
The Generals head into this tournament in great shape, having won their division at the annual Beast of the East tournament hosted by the Philadelphia Eagles in November. But the Phillie team came in a very close second, and 3rd-place Michigan was nipping at Tampa’s wheels, so the coming tournament promises to be action-packed and extremely competitive.
Tampa’s Ryan Kress, pictured at right trapped between two Philadelphia defensive players, was the division’s MVP at the Beast of the East tournament.
My husband, Tres, keeps trying to retire from his volunteer gig as a Wheelchair Rugby referee, but this weekend he’ll be blowing his whistle again, because he just loves it too much to quit completely. He & I have been deeply involved with this fast-paced, hard-hitting sport for many years. This September we’re going to Beijing to cheer for Team U.S.A. in the Paralympics — the Olympics for physically disabled athletes, always held right after the Olympics, at the same location.
But you don’t have to go to Beijing to see this “Elegant Violence.” This is your once-a-year chance to catch this exciting sport played in an international tournament right here in Tampa.
Quad Rugby Reading: Inkwood Books, Tampa’s only full-service independent bookstore, is offering 20% off, all month, on Gimp: The Story Behind the Star of Murderball, by Mark Zupan. (Murderball is an award-winning film about the sport. See the very cool trailer.)