Rockland – Abington Unified Basketball Game

Mike Bodley and Nick Cara celebrate a Rockland basket. photo courtesy of William Marquardt

Jayden Libby, Veritas Staff

Rockland High School hosted a unified basketball game on Monday, March 13 against Abington. Unified sports are part of the Special Olympics model.

It was a fun game to watch shown by the atmosphere and enthusiasm of the crowd.

RHS teachers Amanda Lanigan and Joanne White both attended the game as fans.

Ms.White said, “The unified game is very special to the school because it gives the students in the Pathways program a chance to play a school regulated game that they might not have the chance to take part in.  It brings the students together and it encourages inclusion throughout the community.”

Ms. Lanigan agreed. She said, “The game is very special since it gives athletes of all abilities a chance to come together and show their support for another. It means so much to everyone who participates and shows the community our commitment to inclusion.”

From their view, the crowd was very into the game. Ms. White said, “The crowd was very excited for both teams.  Everyone was so supportive of all the athletes from Abington and Rockland.  Fans had signs and were encouraged to wear red because that was the color of the Rockland team shirts.”

Ms. Lanigan added, “The fans were so hyped up and I loved being a part of the crowd. Everyone was so supportive and it was amazing to see how talented the players are.”

She continued, “My favorite part was seeing the sportsmanship of all the athletes. Everyone made sure that it was a fun atmosphere, and everyone got a chance to show off their skills. I thought Abington and Rockland were really supportive of each other’s teams.”

Ms. White agrees with Ms. Lanigan about the sportsmanship. She also enjoys seeing the smile on every kid’s face.”

Michael Bodley, who is a junior, had a lot of fun playing, dribbling, going coast to coast and rebounding.  He said it was great and was very happy to see all the fans who attended. Bodley’s favorite part was passing, rebounding and defense. Nobody was entering the paint when he had his hands up.

Athletic director, Gary Graziano said, “I enjoy watching the game; it is one of my highlights being an athletic director and it is a good way to unify the two towns together.”

The unified basketball and soccer games started four years ago with Abington. This year, Carver High School joined the soccer games, and Mr. Graziano hopes to add more schools from the South Shore.

He explained that Rockland wanted to start the unified program to give kids in the special needs program a chance to play in front of the amazing Rockland fan base.

Mr. Graziano said  his favorite part of the game is “to see how both groups of students  interact with each other, and the improvement in our student-athletes in the game.”

photos by Veritas Staff and William Marquardt.

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