If you don’t already have Amazon Prime Video, the documentary series “This is How We Roll” may be the incentive you need to join. Following a season with the championship-winning Alabama Wheelchair Basketball Team, the series’ 10 weekly episodes are free to view on Amazon Prime in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
While the series follows a season of the University of Alabama’s (UA) Wheelchair Basketball Team, it’s far from being focused on their disabilities. Each episode follows the students as they prepare for a different game as well as introduces you deeper into the lives of some of the players on the teams. Focusing on the everyday college lifestyle of a collegiate wheelchair basketball player, the series gives excellent insight into what it takes to be a student-athlete.
This is the second documentary on adaptive sports by documentarian Daniel Koenig of Power 10 Films and it has his hallmark depth of involvement with the subjects and their lives as para-athletes. His first documentary, “Trials: Finding the Medal” followed four elite para-rowers as they trained and competed for a spot on the U.S. National Rowing Team within the para-rowing categories.
Having learned about Koenig’s para-rowing documentary, the Alabama Adapted Athletics program approached him about filming their wheelchair basketball athletes. The university’s adapted athletics program began in 2003 with women’s wheelchair basketball. Since then the program has grown to include 30 student-athletes in women’s basketball, men’s basketball, wheelchair tennis, para-rowing and adapted golf.
This January the $10 million multipurpose Stran-Hardin Arena for UA’s Adaptive Athletics program was opened that addresses the needs of all adapted athletes. The facility is named for Drs. Brent Hardin and Margaret Stran, founders of the program and since its inception have also coached multiple championship teams at UA. Stran and Hardin were also co-producers of the documentary with Koenig.
Caitlin McDermott, a UA alumna who was part of the championship team and serves as the main narrator of the series, spoke about the importance of adaptive athletes having their own space to focus on their training, saying “The biggest addition is the weight room and having our own adapted equipment so we don’t have to worry about figuring out what machines we can and can’t use and trying to adapt equipment geared toward able-bodied athletes.”
And in the historic winning tradition of UA athletics, the Adapted Athletics program is home to six national championships in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017), and wheelchair tennis has won three national championships (2013, 2015 and 2017). Roll Tide!
By Connie Wardman
**Featured in the March/ April issue of Compete Magazine**