WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- While Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest are getting ready for the NCAA Tournament, there's another local march madness team that's also looking to bust a few brackets.
The Triad Trackers, a wheelchair basketball team based in Winston-Salem is getting ready for its first ever trip to the National Championship Tournament in Louisville, Kentucky later this month.
The team has been around since 1985, giving disabled athletes a chance to get out and play ball.
“We always feel a little bit different, no matter how much we've adapted for what our situation is,” said Daniel Moody, and 11-year-player. “But when we're on the court, we are just one of a group of people.”
After 32 years, this season was the first time the Triad Trackers have ever been invited to nationals.
“We just want to win,” said Roy Wilkins, a six-year-player. “We want to get there and win and bring the gold back!
But before they can bring any trophy back, the players have to raise enough money to get to the tournament first.
“I've never been but I would anticipate about $3000,” said Travis Smith, who handles the team’s budget.
Some players, like Moody, are even selling personal items to pay for his teammates who can't afford to come.
“They are my family. It's more than just a sport to me,” said Moody.
It’s more than just a sport to the rest of the team as well.
One of the team leaders, Dean Smith, says it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about being a part of a group.
“We hang out on the weekends. We call each other when we're having problems like issues in school or work. If something went wrong in our day, we can lean on each other and ask for advice.”
That camaraderie is why Smith says it’s important for every member of the team to have the chance to compete at nationals.
“We started our season with the whole team. We want to finish together as a group,” said Smith.
The team is planning to leave for Louisville, KY on March 29.
The tournament starts on Thursday, March 30.
The Triad Trackers are one of 48 teams participating in the tournament.
If you want to help the Triad Trackers to go to nationals, click here to donate.
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