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Locker room stories: Wheelchair basketball

Sports are perhaps the best means of integrating into a city. Young and old, newcomers and born 'Eindhovenaren', all meet on fields and courts for weekly matches and a chat afterward. It's the perfect way to unwind and encounter new people. In this series, we visit three teams from Eindhoven and ask what sports mean to them.

We start with the wheelchair basketball players of Achilles Flames.

It is a quarter to eight in the evening when the first members of Achilles Flames roll in for the weekly training. Some are walking. "You don't necessarily have to be in a wheelchair", explains Diny Selten. "From the outside, you can't always tell what someone has." Diny herself ended up in a wheelchair 35 years ago. After a car accident when she was 21, her life changed dramatically. From playing soccer five times a week ("and winning against the Woenselse Boys") to a sedentary life. That was no dull life, by the way. Diny joined the Eindhoven wheelchair team. She played at the highest levels in The Netherlands and participated in tournaments at home and abroad for years. Now she is a board member, trainer and mother of the team. "Boy, put on your jersey!", she shouts to a youthful player when practice is over.

Achilles Flames
Achilles Flames

The Achilles Flames train every Thursday night in the Mortel sports hall, in the city's northernmost tip. There are fifteen members of all levels. The beginners are taken in hand by Diny. She patiently teaches newcomers the rules and techniques of the game. On the other side of the room, trainer Ed Roeters plays a passionate game with the more advanced players. After the lesson, there's time for chatting and sharing stories. This ranges from talking about hand biking in the mountains (a 21 km climb in the blistering heat) to the locker-room humor that you come across in every sports club. Diny: "Would I have wanted it any other way in life? No. I enjoy it to the fullest."

Are you interested in training with the Achilles Flames? Please contact them via email. They can also help you with practical matters, such as transportation to and from the sports hall.

Achilles Flames