Anyone can shoot hoops

Evan Capozella, Sports Editor

  The Medford Basketball League invites special needs players to compete on their first high school sports team. The games are inclusive and allow all players to score a point.

“This gives them a chance to play high school league sports,” Coordinator Donna Oesterheld said.  

  Special education students may have disabilities that limit them in some areas, but they are pushing through and excelling individually as well as improving as a team in each game.  For some players, the game has not only given them the ability to play sports, but it has also changed their lives.  Students have benefited in countless ways and feel included in this family of players working to achieve the same goal.

“[My favorite moment is] just being able to play,” Player Kendall Kirby said.

  Other players loved making points and hearing the crowd cheer loudly for them when the Lions Together Team competed against Orange on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

“[My favorite moment is] when I was shooting and making a basket and my teammates made a basket,” Player Cody Reedy said.

  While the game has a positive impact, the first year back after Covid suspension years has brought a few amusing struggles. 

“[There was] an awkward moment in the first game when we didn’t have any referees,” Oesterheld said. She thought that the coach was getting a referee and the coach thought she was getting a referee and the basketball game went on with no refs. According to Oesterheld, “Since then, student referees and many other students have been involved in supporting the games.  Peer students serve as ‘2nd string’ players, musicians, scorekeepers, snack packers, photo and video recorders, marketing directors, fathead makers, cheer poster artists and ambassadors to the visiting teams!”

   Coaches expect the senior special education students to be excited about the last game. 

“We have seniors who are going to get made a big deal out of for the last game,” Oesterheld said. 

  Make sure to make it out for the last game on Feb. 28 at 10:15 to cheer on your Lions and congratulate the seniors.