Harrisonburg Cardinals host exhibition game to celebrate 20 years
ELKTON, Va. (WHSV) - It was one big celebration on Thursday night as the Harrisonburg Cardinals celebrated 20 years as a program. They hosted an exhibition game against local community members from across the Shenandoah Valley.
The Cardinals merged with Valley Associates for Independent Living, Inc. earlier this year as their first adaptive sports program. The team gives those with spinal cord injuries and lower limb disabilities a support system and a way to be active.
“The team is everything to us,” Anthony Streiff, a player, said.
Streiff was injured in 2002 and joined the team in 2004. He said the Cardinals were exactly what he needed.
“You have a disability, you need friendship. You need support, whether that’s emotional support,” he said. “The wheelchair basketball team is my family.”
Teammates are able to build that connection through trips and tournaments.
Streiff said he’s recieved many opportunities by being a part of the team.
Doug Galica is also a member of the Cardinals. He said the comradery does not make them any less competitive.
“We’re all family. We like to have a good time, but we also treat it as we want to win, too,” Galica said. “Even though we have people from around the state, we all work well together and communicate well. We treat it as a fun game instead of a job.”
“It’s fast. It’s quick. It’s very competitive,” Streiff added. “Our work ethic and our desire to not let our teammates down. Just like any other sport, we play for each other.”
The Cardinals know a lot about winning. In 2018, they competed in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association tournament and came in second place.
A big part of Thursday night’s game was to raise awareness about the program.
“I’ve been injured 25 years and I’ve lived in Harrisonburg 15 years,” Galica added. “I’m in a wheelchair and didn’t even know the team existed. It would be helpful to bring that awareness to everybody.”
To keep up with the Harrisonburg Cardinals, click here.
Copyright 2022 WHSV. All rights reserved.