In a Unified basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 3, MIHS’ White Team defeated the Maroon Team 24-22.
While Unified games are played competitively, the main purpose is to provide disabled athletes the opportunity to showcase their skills alongside other MIHS students.
However, the benefits of Unified games extend beyond the disabled athletes— student volunteers learn to support their peers while stepping aside to give them equitable opportunities to score.
“[Students learn] how to work together as a team and how to be supported by each other, in a sport and in other aspects of life,” coach Jeniffer Blaser said.
Although the rules were enforced very loosely, the staff’s dedication to cultivating a positive environment and the players’ infectious excitement made the game an enriching and enjoyable experience.
Quite a lot of students showed up to support the game, including Flag Dude Luke Harp. “Spirit is all about supporting your school and fellow students as much as you can,” Harp said. “Sure, going to the occasional football game is nice, but going to a variety of less attended events such as Unified Sports is where spirit truly makes a difference.”
At halftime, the White Team was already defeating the Maroon Team 12-9. The MIHS Drill Team performed a brief but dynamic routine to the song “Wipe Me Down,” blending hip hop and TikTok dancing.
One minute before the end of the game, the Maroon Team was tied with the White Team at 22-22. However, not all was lost for the Maroon Team, as Maroon Team member William Acker won the game’s spirit award.
It is also worth celebrating that this was the first home game for many of the athletes, including Maroon Team member Ben Murawski.
“Thank God I was able to play in front of my friends for once,” Murawski said. “This may have been the only home game of my career, but I hope it’s not the last.”