A Travel Memoir from My Recent Trip to Venice Beach- All for the Love of the Game!
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
When and where was your very first shot taken? I bet it was outside on a driveway, school or park court. ‘Street ball’ as it’s called is a place where anyone who loves the sport feels the pulse of the ‘Game’.
I grew up in SoCal and enjoyed the lifestyle of health, sports and the beach. Before my spinal cord injury at 19, I ran up and down the beach courts in Newport, Huntington, Laguna, and Capistrano Beach, playing solo or jumping in on pick up games. Once injured and introduced to wheelchair basketball, my love of outdoor ball didn’t change.
If anything, that passion grew into a near obsession!
"Soul of the Game"
If you get excited to feel the outdoors and its elements you know the ‘Soul’ I’m talking about: the Breeze, the sun, and the ocean in the background with the waves pounding, the sound of the shoes or tires skidding, and the bouncing ball echoing on cement courts….it’s an Unmistakable Feeling!
I escaped my paralysis early on by diving into the ‘Soul of the Game,' where Street Ball became my new way of life. If you love the game like I do, you’d understand this tag line. Something about playing outdoors, and even more something about playing on a beach court is special.
Southern California has some epic beach venues, some of which are listed above and a special one soon to be experienced... by you, DK3 players! Venice Beach is a venue for the extreme and has its own close to crazy personality. If the ‘Soul’ exists, it is where you truly feel it the most, the Venice Beach Courts. Boasting 3 full courts plus an epic new blue court by Nike, many great movies have been shot here, including my favorite one: ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ with Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, I’ve seen this movie a countless number of times. It captures the 'Soul of the Game' at Venice Beach.
It had been way too long since I stepped my “wheels” on a beach court. When the invitation to attend the 5th Annual Angel City Games came about, I knew this would be the trip where I could go back to some of my favorite sites in LA. My main objective was to meet with as many people and organizations as possible and to build and foster relationships as we continue to plan for the first ever Veterans DK3 Venice Beach Outdoor Championships in October: the 3x3 wheelchair basketball championships for Veterans and First Responders.
My brand manager Ishel and I met up at the Venice Beach Basketball Courts to take it all in on Friday. We had a successful site visit, measuring and photographing every inch of the venue to get a good sense of the kind of set up we will have in October. We also met the person in charge of the Venice Beach Parks and Recreation Department, Victor Jauregui. Their office was right on the beach by the courts which is probably a dream location for so many. The ocean breeze I felt the entire time was an indicator that our event will be a winner! My vision of having ‘Warriors’ demonstrating their high level game was vivid as we moved from court to court. The foot traffic on the boardwalk is a built-in fan base for our upcoming history-making event.
It’s so hard to describe the way I felt as it was unique to that very moment: a mix of nostalgia and the thrill of what’s ahead of us. You have to be there in person to understand what I mean.
During this trip, we also met with the LA84 Foundation in the heart of LA, hosted by Oscar Delgado on a tour of their magical campus. It was an incredible display of history and of the city of Los Angeles and sport. The potential partnership with the Foundation and DK3 in Venice is a strong one. After meeting LA84 Foundation President & CEO Renata Simril, I was encouraged to find out that there could be an introduction to Ice Cube’s Big3, marketing team. The Big3 was where I derived my new brand name after a discussion with my long time friend Wille Hernandez, CEO of PER4MAX Wheelchairs, who is now our Presenting Sponsor.
So, I am really encouraged with all that transpired in a short period of time while in LA. 3x3 has momentum like it has never seen around the globe and the timing of DK3 and its 16 years of experience has DK3 right in the middle of it all. Veterans and First Responders will be given ALL that my team and I can personally give.
Whether it's a show of love on Instagram, or a share of our post on Facebook, or connecting us with someone who'd be interested in participating or sharing their resources, your support would be immensely appreciated.
If you are a veteran or a first responder and you want to play, please click below to find more details about the DK3 Venice Beach Championships and to register today.
All for the LOVE of the GAME!!
Peace through Christ and Hoops,