October 11-12 was a red-letter weekend for the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA), as we held our third annual South Sound Throw Down Goalball Tournament in Tacoma, Washington at the Topping Center Boys and Girls Club. With thirteen teams ranging in location from Seattle, to Boise, to Portland, and British Columbia, we had a large-scale, fun, and competitive tournament.
The tournament featured two men’s brackets and one women’s bracket. On the women’s side, British Columbia took first place, with the Rose City Thorns coming in second. It was an intense final game following a sudden-death overtime match between WSSB and the King Cobras. On the men’s side, our very own NWABA Storm team took first over British Columbia. This win adds fuel to the hotly contested rivalry between these teams: at the South Sound Throw Down, the men’s British Columbia teams and the NWABA Vancouver teams have traded wins since the tournament’s inception. Adding to the excitement for the NWABA, our Boise team, the Boise Blaze, won their first game ever on the second day of the tournament. We look forward to watching this hard-working team gain strength and confidence over this next year.
Goalball can be a very competitive game. It was created after World War II, in 1946, for recently blinded veterans. It has grown into a global – and Paralympic – sport. The game is played with two teams of three people on the court. Both teams have a side that they defend. Players individually defend one third of their side of the court, so the player positions are “left,” “right,” and “center.” Points are scored by throwing a ball from the defending end onto the other half, getting the ball past the defense, and across the back line. Defense operates by listening to a bell inside the ball, tracking its location, and diving in front of the ball’s movement.
For every competitive game there are 10 non-players required for tracking timers, the score, outs, and refereeing. For this tournament, volunteers turned out in droves to assist with the challenge. Their involvement allowed us to hold competitive-level games across the board. Big kudos to Parker and his staff at the Topping Center for helping to recruit volunteers. Also, a special thank you to Sara Scheetz, who came out from Vancouver, WA for the second year in a row to volunteer her time as a scorer and as a leader for less experienced volunteers. As always, our success is a result of the unflagging support of our donors, volunteers, and sponsors.