Special education lunchtime basketball game fills stands

‘It was heartwarming to see the smiles on the players’ faces’


Photo Courtesy of Lilly Lim

Jason Aquino, Staff Writer

For most special education students, dreams of playing at competitions in high school sports teams remains just that — a dream. But for ten Bear Creek special education students, that dream came true as they matched their athletic prowess against other district special education teams in lively, well attended games on Jan. 17 and 24.

For the majority of the game, each team had three Special Ed students playing with two captains (Bear Creek varsity basketball players) who in which led the team.

“For the selection process, [Head Varsity Coach for Women’s Basketball and Softball] Kirk came into student government and just pointed me out and asked if I wanted to participate,” junior Mark Metrovich said.

Seniors Sarah Ruiz and Deyliana Lewis were elected to be referees along with two more varsity basketball players, Quincy Glasper and Hailey Jade. Students played two 10-minute halves in the large gym during early lunch.

The game was free to attend and took place on two consecutive Thursdays. It reeled in not only students from early lunch, but also students that were allowed to leave class to watch and parents of the players.

“I left [Link Crew] to support the game, but mostly because [it was] actually fun,” junior Jacob Ha said.

The Bruins were 2-1, losing to Lodi but defeating Tokay and McNair.

“I had no idea that [Bear Creek was] going to play against other schools,” senior Chris Carr said. “I was expecting them to play against themselves in a less competitive environment.”

The audience rooted for both teams and were very vocal. With every basket and every coast-to-coast drive, a roar from the crowd soon followed.

Senior Ethan George added commentary from the score box. The environment was as close to as a regular home Varsity game. But most importantly, the stands were filled to every single seat and overflowed which made spectators stand on the side.

“I feel like there [were] more people [at the Special Olympics basketball game] than at the home games I’ve been to,” freshman Sean Santos said. “I was genuinely having more fun there, and I think it goes the same for the students watching.”

All varsity players that helped the Special Ed team had one thing in common: a sense of warmth in their heart for seeing the kids enjoy the sport they love.

“It was heartwarming to see the smiles on the players’ faces when they were getting cheered on by the stands full of students,” Ruiz said. “It made me realize what this game really meant, showing the players that they’re just like everyone else regardless of their disability.”