SSN: Unified Sports Competes in Bocce for First Time, Prepares for Basketball Season

Tristan Fluhr

Unified Sports Plays Bocce, Looks Forward to Basketball

The year 2020 has had ramifications throughout the sports world, and unified sports are no exception. New for the 2020 Fall Sports Season, Unified Sports participated in bocce ball. Flag football, usually played in the Fall, has plans to return for HSE in 2021.

“We didn’t have the interest we typically have,” Coach Risa Petty said. “I think parents were hesitant this year to participate in unified football. It was also offered when we were on an all-virtual schedule, so our students weren’t here during our practices, which are normally in the school day.”

There were a limited number of teams participating in the IHSAA Unified Bocce tournament, meaning that the State Finals was all inclusive. The HSE team finished fifth in the state. With the success of bocce in its first year, it has a high likelihood of returning in addition to unified football for many fall season’s to come.

As the Winter Sports season begins, Coach Petty and Coach Marsha Lee anticipate a unified basketball season that while different than any year previously, will still provide a fun experience for the students participating.

“We are looking at playing at halftime [of varsity basketball games],” Lee said. “We’re still figuring out when to do practices because of the 50/50 calendar, but we absolutely plan to have a great season.”

But the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only way that this season differs from most unified basketball seasons, Coaches Lee and Petty also have to teach and prepare nine freshman who have interest in joining.

“I think it helps to have sophomores now that didn’t participate last year,” Petty said. “because now they’ve seen what happened with unified sports and now they’ll have more interest and excitement for it. It builds every year where we get more and more kids participating because they realize that they don’t have to be good at basketball, but they see how much fun everyone is having and they want to join.”

The unified basketball games during halftime are a fan favorite during the winter sports season and are sure to be popular once again. And maybe this season they are more important than ever as they’ll put a smile on people’s faces when they so desperately need it after a difficult 2020. Story by: Tristan Fluhr