Champions Together

The 3rd Annual Basketball Clinic


As the gym flooded with the sweetest kids, I could not contain my smile. The joy that the simplest activities put on their faces is enough to make me just as happy. I took a second and looked around at all of the participants dribbling the basketballs, giggling, and hugging the person they were paired with, and all I could think was how happy I was to be apart of it. 

This past Friday, the 31st, Champions Together held the third annual basketball clinic. Five different stations were set up around the gym consisting of passing, shooting, rebounds, shuffling, and dribbling. We rotated with our champions to every station, preparing them for the upcoming scrimmage they would soon participate in. Moo enjoyed passing and dribbling the most. She did not favor shooting as much because the ball could never reach the net. She even made me try to shoot the ball instead of her. 

I have never received so many hugs in my life. Every time I would smile at Moo, the champion I was paired with, she would wrap her arms around me instantaneously. She kept me smiling and laughing throughout the whole event. Moo’s favorite activity was passing the basketball back and forth. She caught every pass with ease and returned the ball with a force hard enough to scare me every once in a while. I laughed as she accidentally launched the ball right towards my face. Moo was truly so much fun to be with, and I am so happy we were paired together. 

We had 41 individuals with intellectual difficulties participate including 26 students from our K-12 and 15 students and adults outside of Lewis Cass High School. The packed gym was loud and busy, but we all had so much fun. “We had all smiles from our participants and team members who participated,” said Mrs. Rush when asked about how she felt the event went. 

The event overall went smoothly and I know tons of people who enjoyed watching and participating. “I am so proud of our student leaders who organized the basketball and cheer clinic. McKayla Thompson, Isaac Chambers, and Tyler Johnson did a great job planning and leading by example with a positive attitude!” Said Mrs. Rush. “I was touched and proud of how our student body cheered with and for the students during the skills and scrimmage pep session at the end of the day on Friday.” She added. 

Not only does this event build relationships between the champions and the students who participate during the event, but it also keeps them connected throughout the school year. “This carries over into the school year as I see students giving high fives and fist bumps in the hall from forming a friendship from the clinic.” Said Mrs. Rush. 

I helped with the basketball portion of the event, but cheerleading took place as well. 

Hannah Plauschin, a sophomore cheerleader, worked with the cheerleaders. “I really loved working with all of the individuals who participated in the cheer portion for Champions Together. Everyone had a smile on his or her face with a pompom in each hand. Hearing their laughter as we all danced to the thumping music, warmed my heart. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of such a special day.” Said Plauschin. 

At the event, the question was asked, “What does Champions Together mean to you?” To me, it shows that everyone deserves to have a good time and participate in fun activities. Everyone should be included no matter what. I loved the event, and I could tell the champions did too. I cannot wait for more events to take place and more relationships to be built. 

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