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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Kid’s Day Mentoring

National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Ronnie Nickerson and Anthony Pone playing basketball

In Greek mythology, Mentor was placed in charge of Odysseus’ son Telemachus when Odysseus went off to fight the Trojan War. Because of this ancient relationship with Telemachus, the term ‘mentor’ has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague. So it was on Kid’s Day, June 27, 2012 at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Richmond, Va., when wheelchair basketball player extraordinaire Anthony Pone met up with 17 year-old Ronnie Nickerson on the basketball court.

“Let me tell ya, this kid can play,” said the muscular Pone, who is a formidable force on the hardwood. “He’s gonna take my job.”

Nickerson was born with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect caused by the incomplete closing of the spine. He is also deaf, but has full use of his upper body.

“My mom adopted Ronnie two years ago,” said brother Chip Nickerson. “He’s very athletic.”

Nickerson has been playing on the Sportable Spokes wheelchair basketball team in Richmond for the past two years. They compete all over the East Coast and recently won a tournament in North Carolina. At Kid’s Day, he showed his prowess in the slalom and scored 4 runs in the softball game displaying the speed and agility of a seasoned wheelchair athlete.

“Man, that kid is really incredible,” said Pone. “I enjoyed working with him today. He’s got a great future ahead of him.”


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