When I entered high school, I never expected to be a part of Unified Sports. As a matter of fact, I never even knew it was a thing.
I became acquainted with Unified Sports through my teacher, Ms. Kelle. One day, I walked into the library for my lunch shift where the Unified Sports Club was meeting. At the time, I didn’t know what they were meeting for. Ms. Kelle stopped me and asked, “Hey, Jayden, do you want to join our club?”
Not knowing what I was about to join, I agreed. I’m truthfully glad I did.
For background, Unified Sports was created to promote meaningful inclusion by bringing people, with and without intellectual disabilities, together. It is based on the belief that this cannot happen without youth leaders. This club is part of many schools around the country.
For those of you who don’t know, bocce, also known as bocce ball and bocci, is an Italian lawn-bowling game. You start with a pallina (a small ball), which is thrown first. Then, the teams roll out four larger bocce balls. The teams earn points based on whose bocce ball is closer to the pallina. The points also depend on if the bocce balls are in a certain range; thus, while in a game, you’ll notice they measure to see how far a bocce is from the pallina.
I joined Unified Sports and ended up loving it. I played alongside Logan Dukich, MaKenzie Lewis, Carli Mazaleski, Dominic McKenny, Lucas Phelan, Siddah Robbins, Oliver Vasquez, and Jonny Wastler. Plus, our wonderful coaches, Ms. Kelle Brumley and Mrs. Charmane Nesbitt.
Without Ms. Kelle and Mrs. Nesbitt, none of this would have been possible. They create a great environment for the students and make sure that everything is taken care of. I’m glad to call them my coaches.
With Unified Sports joining part of the regular sports program, hopefully kids, now and in the future, will have an avenue to socialize and be a part of a fun and competitive environment, without some of the physical strains of traditional sports.
This team has become more like a family over the last few months, and this adventure has been a phenomenal one to embark on.
Team members: (from left) Carli Mazaleski, Kenzie Lewis, Siddah Robbins, Logan Dukich, Jayden Myers, Dominic McKenney, and Oliver Vasquez. Not present for photo: Lucas Phelan and Jonny Wastler.