This past weekend, Millburn’s very own Play Unified Basketball Team competed in their first series of games this year. Opponents included teams from Randolph, Union City, Basking Ridge, and Chatham.
Play Unified is a team that represents all students of Millburn High School, allowing those with mental difficulties to participate in sports with other students. This program not only brings students together, but also provides our students with opportunities that many schools cannot afford.
While Millburn did not win any of the games, we had a strong showing and really did achieve the goal of Play Unified, itself, which is really what matters. Coach Cantagallo said, “our team played hard with a great team mentality. We showed what a true teammate looks like during adversity. Myself and Coach Howard Shirley were very proud our kids because they were representative of how a Millburn student athlete should act, play, and carry themselves.” The coordinator Mr. Askins said, “our team lost both games but they had a great TIME! The important thing about these events is the interaction and the fun that the students have.”
Having volunteered as a scorekeeper at the event myself, I have to say that I was impressed with the amount of school spirit I saw. Everyone cheering on both sides was so excited and really got into the game. I saw foam fingers, pom poms, and clothing in school colors. It was incredible to see how the Play Unified team brought together both the high school community and the supporters of the cause. While Millburn did not win the game I was scorekeeping for, the team did not seem disappointed. They showed an impressive performance and gladly went over to congratulate the other team. That’s not to say that there was not any competition, there definitely was. However, that is not the point of playing these games. The point of the team is to include everyone in sports that they would not otherwise be able to play, and that is evident in the games.