There was no need for the scoreboard to be operating at the Old Gym in Bridgewater-Raritan High School when a basketball game on Tuesday, January 24 was played–and enjoyed by everyone.
This game did not paint the picture that the home team consisted of the good guys and the visiting team were the bad guys.
This was sportsmanship at its best.
The Unified Basketball game this afternoon was between both good guys—the host, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and the visitor, Ridge High School.
Both teams contain high school students with and without disabilities but they are all one unified team, and on this January afternoon, that team consisted of both Bridgewater-Raritan and Ridge.
One of the ardent rooters in the bleachers was Joan DiPaola, whose son, Victor, is a Bridgewater-Raritan Panther. She supported her Panthers–and the visiting Red Devils, too
“We love it, it is the only game when you cheer for both teams,” Mrs. DiPaola said.
She went on to say how much her son enjoys being on the team.
“He loves it, this is his favorite sport,’ she revealed.
Victor then chimed in and proclaimed, “I love it.”
His Panther teammate, Anthony D’Arco was having fun, too.
Anthony is a member of Bridgewater-Raritan High’s PE Partners, which is a Physical Education class where students without developmental disabilities are partnered with students with disabilities to promote socialization and practice communication skills while developing recreational skills,
“This is so much fun, I always look forward to these games,” Anthony said.
The attitude of the players and fans sums up what Unified sports is all about.
“Having fun is the whole mission of Unified sports,’ said Cynthia Wong, the head coach for Bridgewater-Raritan and a Special Education Teacher at the high school.
Once the game ended, both squads joined together for a team photo.
One team. One photo.
Bridgewater-Raritan will now hit the road and play its next game on Tuesday, January 31, at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. Game time in Flemington is 4 p.m.
The Panthers will then quickly return to the court and will be the host to West Morris Mendham High School at Bridgewater-Raritan High on Thursday, February 2.That game will tip off at 4 p.m.
By the way, if you are keeping score–and it was doubtful if anyone other than the scoreboard operator was on January 24—Ridge recorded 47 points and Bridgewater-Raritan finished with 22.
“We will win next game,” said Anthony D’Arco. “I can not wait to play.”
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