Steve Serio poses at the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on November 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
To my family,
As my career comes to an end, I can’t help but think of where this journey began. Who would have ever thought that all of this would have started inside a rickety, old gym attached to a hospital in Long Island, New York?
Without knowing anything about adaptive sports, you pushed me into trying something that none of us were familiar with. Wheelchair basketball was like a forge in language. Do the players play on a 10-foot hoop? Can people dribble in a wheelchair? Are the rules the same? Basketball in a wheelchair?
But you raised me to never see my disability as something that could hold me back. To me, it was just basketball. And it was something that finally would allow me to be the best athlete I can be. Thank you for never seeing me as a kid with a disability but a real athlete.
But when I think about the early days, the things I can’t help but remember aren’t the countless number of shots, the warped floor or the wooden backboards, or the teammates of my first wheelchair basketball team, but it's the fact that I never missed a practice. Because of you, I never missed an opportunity to do what I loved and to do the thing that would ultimately shape me into the man I am today.
I can’t even begin to thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made in order for me to pursue my dreams. You’ve never told me once that I couldn’t go to practice because you had something else to do, or that we couldn’t go to some random tournament because we would miss another family gathering. That included all of the family vacations that were scheduled around my crazy travels because Team USA tournaments just had to be in the summer every year. When I told you I was moving to Europe to play professionally after college, the only rule was that I was home for Christmas every year.