Unify the sports


Brianna Lewis, News Writer

While most attention is given to the varsity boy’s and girl’s basketball teams during the winter, there are students who play in the Special Games and Olympics.

On Feb. 18, the Special Olympics basketball team competed against the Andrew Thunderbolts and Thornton Township Wildcats at Andrew High School.

The Vikings won their first game against the Thunderbolts with a score of 50-47

Although they were not able to beat Thornton, the Vikings still placed in their division.

The team is made up of 12 people; all being from different walks of life.

“The team consists of players half with disabilities and half without,” advisor David Dore said.

Students such as senior Jared Hoekstra are involved in the volunteer program.

“I joined the team because, well, Mr. Dore asked me to,” Hoekstra said. “Also because I enjoy helping involve special ed kids in sports they might not be as good at as everyone else.”

Hoekstra participates in Special Olympic unified soccer as well as basketball.

The basketball tournament was a stepping stone in the direction towards winning State.

The team competes through the South-Inter Conference Association (SICA).

SICA is a sports conference of the Chicago southland that consists of five divisions that disbanded in 2009.

As a forerunner of the more commonly known South Suburban Conference (SSC), it was once the largest conference in Illinois.

The team competed against schools such as Bloom Township and Thornton  Township High School in the eastern division.   

The Special Games and the Special Olympics are often seen as the same thing,   however they are two different events.

“The Special Olympics teams focus on sports and have complete seasons just like everyone else,” Dore said.

They practice and compete throughout their seasons in preparation for State.

The seasonal sports consist of basketball, soccer and track.

With the regular basketball season ending at the Andrew tournament, track is soon to begin.

Dore has been with the program for 12 years and says that the special games are more for “camaraderie” without rankings.

The one day event is used to show school spirit and give students with disabilities a chance to compete in some of their favorite sports.

Track and field, can-jam and basketball are a few of the games played throughout the day before they end with dance.

The Special Games take place on Thursday, March 9, at Lincoln-Way Central High School.