Sportsbeat reporter in action at the BT Paralympic World Cup
"JUST watch out for your thumbs, whatever you do watch out for your thumbs," advised a particularly amused photographer as the cold sweat of fear streamed down my brow.
SHEER CONCENTRATION: But alas a lack of abililty to back it up with and the shot misses
Through my ever-industrial diligence to my work/sheer terror I had delayed the inevitable and avoided practicing in ‘the chair' - leaving me considerably ill-prepared and out of my depth as tip-off rapidly approached.
I had agreed - I must point out I did so before I had ever seen wheelchair basketball in the flesh - to take part in the ParaympicsGB Media versus Battle Back exhibition match.
Battle Back is an initiative designed to offer wounded servicemen and women sporting opportunities - and has recently seen its profile boosted by Phil Packer - a former army major, who completed the London Marathon recently on crutches in just under two weeks.
A worthy cause I thought - and how hard can wheelchair basketball be?
Thankfully I was benched for the first quarter - plenty of time to study the intricacies and the nuances of the game, plenty of time to strategise.
The start was cagey - both teams exchanged two baskets apiece before the first buzzer, but the one thing that stuck in my mind was the ferocity and at times brutality of it all.
Those who had clearly played before flew around the court, charging into other wheelchairs at full pelt, constantly tussling for the ball with a raging competitive streak.
In sporting ability terms I could be worse - I consider myself a capable corner-taker on a Sunday morning but having a physique not too dissimilar to Rodney Trotter and the fitness of tired sock, the panic set in again.
Now it was my moment, my angst was eased by the fact we had 2004 Paralympic bronze medallist and BBC darling Ade Adepitan on our side, just give it to Ade I thought, and look after the thumbs.
STAR MAN: Ade Adepitan led the way for the ParalympicsGB team (www.actionimages.com)
God knows why but as we mounted one of our first attacks in the second quarter I was given the ball within shooting distance, the perfect way to announce myself on court, but the moment got the better of me and it barely hit the rim.
As the game progressed I found myself becoming more and more of a passenger. When Adepitan started a move under our basket and was shooting at the other end of the court in the time it took me to execute one of my, now near-perfect three-point turns, it was clear I was no natural.
The game wore on and despite Adepitan's best work - legal or otherwise - it was clear we were going to be on the wrong end of a hiding.
Just occupy the space I thought to myself, arrive late in the box, get it and give it, let the ball do the work - it didn't matter how many clichés I reeled out in my head - my influence on the game was microscopic.
But then it came. My chance at glory. We were losing by about 12 points with just ten seconds on the clock - profligacy in front of goal was our undoing.
But now I had the chance to get my name on the score sheet. In true Paul Scholes fashion I had arrived late in the box, I was handed the ball and all I had to do was find the net.
The shot felt good, it looked good, it clipped the rim and whizzed around it like a whippet at Walthamstow but to my despair, it popped out and the buzzer sounded.
UTTER DESPAIR: Pure disappointment as the one shot at glory is agonisingly missed
Oh well I thought. I had got through it Okay and, after all, I was still in a position to give a big thumbs-up to wheelchair basketball.
* The BT Paralympic World Cup is taking place in Manchester from 20-25 May with over 400 competitors from over 31 countries scheduled to compete.
Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for more information