The Wolfpack (2018) Wheelchair Basketball Short Film


[music playing] COACH: Every time we
space it out and kind of make them play out
on the wings, we get a lot of open opportunities. So just keep moving on that
off side but keep your space. Leave it all
out the right now. USA. Wolfpack I was a very strong
kid, hard-working, and also just a dreamer. I still have that with me now. I tried college for a little
bit straight out of high school. But I didn’t have enough
money to pay for it. The military was always
idea in the back of my head. I did want to serve my country. And I was able to do that in
the Marine Corps and still– you know, they’ll pay
for my college as well. I did know that it was a
good chance I was going to go to war in Afghanistan. They would tell us that, you
know, right in boot camp. Over here, I have
my Purple Heart– August 1, 2013, was the date I
was injured, stepped on an IED and lost both my legs. I prided myself on being a
work horse in my platoon. Everybody that knew me
knew Matt was the guy that carries the big gun– just kind of shows me,
assures me that I got hurt. But you know, we accomplished
a lot over there. And people are proud of me. My family is proud of me
and I’m proud of my platoon and everything we accomplished. [chattering] USA. Wolfpack MATT: The Wolfpack
all-military team. We expect everybody to kind of
have that military attitude. We’re not going to quit. We’re not going to — we
don’t care what the score is. We’re going to go
100% all the time. We’re going to
play aggressive. We’re going to hit
chairs, you know? We’re going to go in
and just destroy them. Even if we lose, we’re going
to destroy them, you know? The goal is to be
division 2 champions. [music playing] MATT: But you know,
I thought, what was my son going to think
about my legs, you know? Am I going to be able to
protect my family the way, you know, I thought I
was going to be able to? Nothing’s really changed. I mean, I still
protect my family. My son loves me. I get to be at his
level now a lot more. And I really don’t think about,
you know, some of the things that I’m probably missing out on
or I think I’m missing out on. You know, with losing
your legs, you’re not able to just kind
of bounce up and be that big athletic
person I used to be. I kind of got to do it
a different way now. I knew right away when
I moved to San Diego that I was going to be
playing for the Wolfpack I heard a lot about
them on the East Coast. Most of the guys on the
Wolfpack were amputees like me. It was good to be around,
you know, other amputees that have prosthetics like me
and have the same problems. They could offer me advice. From right off
the bat, they were that team that’s just going
to keep fighting till the end. [music – the seige, “outside”] Looking for trouble
then knuckle up. I see through all
of your cover-ups. You think that you’re
going to set me up. Good luck. Break it down. Who at the top, going
to bring them down. I will not stop till you laying
down, till I’m at the top and I’m gazing down. It ain’t be the same
since we came around, since we became kings
and became renowned, since all of the truth
started raining down. If you want that belt,
better buckle down. JOSUE: The way the Wolfpack
started was at the hospital. And we didn’t have a team. We were just there,
learning how to play, learning how to use the chairs. And eventually, we
had enough guys that were really committed
and really serious and wanted to use that as their
recovery that I told my rec therapist, I’m like, we should
start a basketball team. But we’re like, who is going
to help us make this happen? And obviously, you need funding. So I reached out to Sandy
from the Warrior Foundation. And I asked her, is there
any way you can help us? From day one she was like, OK,
you know, I’m all about it. What do we got to do next? SANDY: I remember vividly
when we were up at the gym at the hospital. And you came across to me. And you said, Sandy, I just
want to play basketball. We just need a team. And you explained
all that to me. And I said, we’ll
get behind you. This will go. This will go, Josue. And so in essence, you built
Wolfpack to what it is today. JOSUE: So I feel like
wheelchair basketball is kind of part for what gave
me some of that confidence back to become the
leader that I wanted to be in the Marine Corps. So the Wolfpack kind
of gave me that sense of, like, oh, you know,
you know, now you’re out of the battlefield. Now you’re away from your unit. This is a new life
that, you know, that you have to go
through, which is recovery. MATT: When I very first
started playing basketball, Josue was one of the guys that I
was just like, wow, I want to– I want to be like him, you know? He was never a ball hog. He was always, I
can make this shot. But let’s see if
I can get somebody else to make this shot. He was always that type of guy. He’s another one-eyed guy
like me, which is kind of cool. When I started playing with
him, it helped out a lot. He had the same depth
perception, stuff like that, that I did. And getting help from
him made it a whole lot easier because I have
somebody else that knows, like, how it is. It’s our tournament
put up every year, by the Warrior Foundation,
in memory of Brad Rich. He was one of our players
that unfortunately passed away from cancer two years ago. JUNIOR: I was lucky enough
to be able to get some of the best teams around
the nation in Division 1 and Division 2. And they wanted to come
on, play basketball. So I afforded them that
opportunity by putting this on. It was a team effort. I’m just the face of it. They chose the wrong face. But I’ve never been an athlete. My specialty was
combat medicine. So I was a Fleet
Marine Force corpsman. SANDY: So I get a call
from the hospital. And they said to me, we’ve
got a Navy corpsman up here. He’s in a dark place. And I’m thinking
to myself, we have got to find this man
a reason to live. It dawned on me, this
guy is a corpsman– corpsman. He knows how to fix people. Basketball. I said, Junior, do you
know how to fix shoulders with Kinesio tape? Yeah, I can do that. Do you know about the wheelchair
basketball team up there? Oh, yeah. Pretty soon, he starts going
on the different tournaments with these guys. He goes up to LA. And it’s giving him
something to do. MATT: Junior is the team
manager, the team doctor, the mascot, the equipment. Like, he’s everything for us. He’s a fighter, just
like the rest of us. He might not be on the
court, fighting with us. But he’s a fighter
off the court. And we can’t do what
we do without Junior. SANDY: He’s got his Marines
back to take care of. He’s got purpose, dignity. He’s got class. And he’s got a lot of
knowledge about basketball. JUNIOR: It’s hard to explain. But when you’re in a Marine
unit, the bond is for life. I mean, you suffer together. You have your best days together
and your worst days together. So it’s a bond
that sometimes you spend your whole life
trying to find again. When Josue created
the Wolfpack just wanted to have
some purpose again. And he found it. I was lucky enough
that I found them. And it gave me purpose again. It’s something that I’ll forever
be eternally grateful for. Besito. Besito. Besito. Right now, I’m not playing. Because obviously, I’m growing
my family, helping my wife out with the kids. And it’s a big commitment
to play for a wheelchair basketball team. But if the Wolfpack
needs me, there’s other ways I can help them. [background voices] Leave it all out there right
now, last 20 minutes, gents. Let’s go. Let’s go. [background voices] [cheering] MATT: Brotherhood. It’s unlike any other
team I ever been on. It’s a lot closer to what
it was like going to war. JHOONAR BARRERA: The Wolfpack
is definitely my family. They’re the group of guys that,
yeah, I’d go to war with them. And I do. When we go to war on
the court every time. [buzzer] JOSUE: I just feel like
surrounding yourself with guys who are going through
the same struggle as you, you kind of feel that
camaraderie and family that you had in the military. [buzzer] [cheering] ANNOUNCER: [chanting] [cheering] JUNIOR: That’s my family– been there for me since day one. And we’ll continue to be with
each other until the very end. [yelling] USA! Wolfpack [cheering]

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