Dribbling through Unified Athletics


 The Unified team at Highlands Ranch does not care about winning or losing. It is about giving students the chance to play a sport like anyone else. It gives them the chance to put all they have on the court just like anyone else. When they step foot on that court, they are so full of life. Everyone smiling and cheering from the bleachers and everyone being equal.

This season Unified Athletics played seven basketball games. “I like Unified because it allows our population to get out and do what ‘normal’ kids get to do,” Debbie Rochau, SSN teacher said. Each team usually gets about three shots and nobody tries to block them and then they get the points. At the end of the games, they tie it up because at the end of the day they want everyone to feel included and be in high spirits.

  The Unified team usually has about 10 students, give or take, playing in the games. There are also peers from the school to come help out the students shoot the ball, or just be on the court with them. It is a great way for students to be involved in the games as well as being in the stands. “I don’t dislike anything about the Unified program,” Rochau said.

  Creating this Unified team has brought a sense of comfort to these students that they have the opportunity to be a part of the culture that is sports. “When you shoot hoops, it’s pretty fun,” Ana Davis, a sophomore and part of the Unified team, said.

  “You just run and people cheer for you,” Davis said. “I mean my family comes, but yeah I wish more people came.” At the Unified games, there is an uprise in the amount of people to cheer them on and create that energetic and heartfelt environment.

  But there can always be improvement by trying to pack the stands and having an even bigger turn out for the unified team. “I’d like to see a consistent standard for the game,” Rochau said. “We have had so many more people show up to these last couple of games though.”

  “I ultimately love Unified for the students and the families to be able to watch their kids in a typical gym, in an environment that they might not be able to access as freely as we do,” said Rochau.

  In hopes of growing the Unified program, at the first Unified game of the year Mr. Wolf said that it was hard to watch a Unified game and not leave with a smile on your face.  

Meagan Janes, Guest Reporter

Some of the Unified basketball players and peer interns at a home game. PhotoCo: Debbie Rochau