Unified in Glory

For the third year, Frederick’s Unified Basketball team makes friends while making buckets


Hayde Delier

Alexia Guevara going up to make a shot. Her and her teammates loved being able to have fun and be competitive. What pushed the Unified team the most was the support that they received throughout their season from their mentors to the Rowdy Crowd.

Julissa Solorzano, Staff Writer

It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about teamwork and sportsmanship. Unified Basketball has given an opportunity to students with special needs to be able to get help with basketball.  But it does not just help that is offered, there’s encouragement and fortitude that mentors give. You can see the impact that the mentors have on these players. Smiling all the time and generally just being there for them even outside of playing Basketball. Having the support and love from their fellow FHS students is what really pushes them and helps them have so much fun from all the support that they receive.

One of the biggest challenges that the players faced was learning the techniques that they need to be successful in basketball. For many of the players, it was their first time playing basketball, where there was a lot of possibility for injuries however they persevered. “She [Neveah Rifle] has helped me with rebounding, passing, shooting close shots, and the proper way to hold the ball,” said Andrew Hershey, a freshman Unified Basketball player. Influence is all the players need to get started and to show what they can do.

Having teammates who had played before was great because they were able to grow in their expertise and also help their teammates to gather the knowledge they had. This made the experience 10x better for each and every player on the team.

Kaetlyn Hartley responded to the question of how long she had played “I’ve played for 4-5 years.” Leaving everyone astonished when she herself as a player would encourage her teammates and not be a “ball hog” just because she had paid for longer. Fortunately, they had mentors who were able to help more players at a time, to push and cheer all the players. Even with all the challenges the team faced, they were able to endure and keep on trying to get better while having fun of course. “It’s really fun being able to help everybody and kinda cheer them on as they play. Cause everybody has so much fun to play, and we even get to have so much fun playing basketball with everybody,” said Quinn McNeil.

Having the rowdy crowd and other people who love supporting their peers there for you when your family isn’t able to come out is very encouraging to do your best. Unified basketball gave the opportunity for students to connect with each other, become teachers, and grow into a family altogether. The community and unified feeling that flowed through the gym each and every game was what really pushed the players to play the games so well.“As mentors, our biggest contribution is cheerleading honestly because we just try to cheer on the players as much as we can. Other than that we are just guiding them and helping them to learn how to play basketball, and learn how to be team players,” said Senior Cecilia Knapp.

Family and friends would come to the stands and cheer, they would at times become louder than the rowdy crowd which was impressive. Many people didn’t know that there was Unified basketball offered at FHS, at times we need to announce and advertise so that we can encourage each other because the information is beneath our noses we just need to look for it. “I’m glad it’s available to do, it’s fun for them to be able to play a sport and I think it’s great.” Said Sophomore William Hershey.

The Rowdy crowd would make posters specifically for Unified players, they’d scream and yell hoping to encourage the players to do their best even at times when the team thought they couldn’t continue. Having the Rowdy crowd there helped the players to feel included and less isolated from the other sports. This helped them feel more included and a part of FHS as a whole which is just what they needed to be able to be as successful as they were.

Unified Basketball ended their season at Niwot High School, at the annual Unified tournament. Warriors never give up; they persist alongside any challenges they are faced with. These players represented Warriors as what we are, fighters and triumphant even through defeat.