Letter of Recommendation: Unified Basketball Games


Karen Manley

Freshman Jackson Maybon prepares to pass the ball.

Karen Manley, Editor in Chief

Heading into my final season of Unified Basketball coverage, I feel an obligation not only to write about the games, but to make sure people are there to see them in the first place. For the last three years, I have felt like a part of the team. Because basketball was the first Unified sport I covered, I was beyond nervous. Camera in hand, I stepped onto the court and was immediately welcomed with open arms. Three years later, and nothing’s changed.

The Unified Sports program is a branch off of the Special Olympics organization, and works to bring students with and without disabilities together for friendly competition. Unified at Fossil Ridge High School is full of kids with a lot of heart.

Karen Manley
Dee White (left) prepares to take a shot.

The basketball team competed in their first two games of the season on Wednesday, February 30 against Rocky Mountain High School. Though the team lost both games, the players were all smiles and proud to have played. “It went pretty well. I’m feeling tired,” said Dee White. “I like to get that rebound and get the best hoops,” added Dawson Coker.

As a self-proclaimed Unified Pep Leader, I have gotten to know the team pretty well. They work so hard and never fail to have a positive attitude. They deserve a bigger fan section than the players’ parents. Seeing their peers in the crowd gives the players a more authentic career in high school athletics. Most of all, a bigger fan section makes it fun.

Dr. Julie Chaplain commented, “[Unified] fills my heart and fills my soul and I absolutely just love seeing what it gives for students in opportunities, how it makes them feel good about themselves, how they grow, how they do better in the classroom, how they become friends with people they never even knew before. I think it’s just the best program on the planet.”

Karen Manley
Ryan Schaefer poses for a photo before the start of his game.

Unified Games have become as much a part of my high school experience as anything else. Seeing students play each week makes me proud to play a part. The family I have found through the Unified program is irreplaceable and the thought of graduating and no longer being on the court with my camera makes me beyond sad. I love this program and will ensure it goes on to get the recognition it deserves.

“People should come watch because it’s so much fun to see people have fun and it’s just a really good environment.” advised freshman Ava Flake, “It’s just so good.” Senior Matt Coleman, a long time competitor in Unified Sports, added, “It just makes everyone feel important and have a good time.”

David Knuckey believes Unified sports are important because they help students “get to know everyone and get better and try something new, and stuff like that.” He went on to explain, “I really like shooting points. I would like to tell everyone to come to one of my games and see me play!”

The next Unified game will be on Wednesday, February 6 at 6 p.m. at Fossil. Students are encouraged to wear Ridge Gear. White couldn’t be more right in saying, “Come to Unified Games, they’re awesome.”

Karen Manley
The team huddles at the end of the first night of the Unified Basketball season