Spotlight: Polson Middle School Unified Basketball
February 2020 - A group of students at Polson Middle School are demonstrating what sports are really supposed to be about. This year 30 students are playing on the schools Unified basketball team.
Unified Sports is an inclusive program that brings together people with and without intellectual disabilities on a sports team. Coach Lindsay Wasserman said it is great to see how unified shows kids how to support each other on the court and in the classroom.
“In the hallways during the day, I see our players saying hi and hanging out together,” she said. “The kids become teammates, and they support each other at our practices and in our regular school day. To me, these players are demonstrating the absolute best in sports. They care about each player improving every time and having fun together. I have about 12 players who played soccer together in unified and now came back for basketball. They say it’s the best part of their day.”
Athletes too spoke about the new friendships they have gained through playing on a unified team.
“My favorite part is that I get to work with a team and meet new people,” said student Alex Price. “It’s great to try new things.”
Grade 7 student Blake Freeman said the team also helps people grow.
“My favorite part of being on this team is helping people to do better and getting to see people reach their full potential,” he said.
So far the team has played both the boys and girls basketball teams at Polson, Durham, and will be playing North Branford soon but Wasserman winning is not the most important thing.
“You truly cheer each other on and support each other,” she said. “No one worries about the pressures of winning or performing perfectly. It’s about having fun together.”