SWHS hosts Unified Sports Soccer Tournament
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Fri., Oct. 26, 2012
South Windsor High School was the host of the 2012 Unified Sports Soccer Tournament, held Wednesday, Oct. 24. Unified Sports is a Special Olympics program that gives people with intellectual disabilities a chance to practice and compete in athletic events. The program is partnered with the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference to bring Unified Sports teams to schools throughout Connecticut, including South Windsor High School.
Evan Fable is a visual arts teacher at SWHS and the coach of the Unified Sports team. “It’s well run and very well organized,” said Fable. “It’s an overall great experience that they provide to many schools in our area.”
South Windsor has hosted a Unified Sports team for 20 years, starting with special education teacher Maggie Mortenson and past athletic director Jack Longo. Later, social studies teacher William Richards ran it for 10 years before handing the reigns to Fable last year.
The team has 15 special education students with as many regular education student helpers. The involvement of the volunteers is key to the program. “It’s really hands-on for them to be part of it. They create the experiences,” said Fable.
For the athletes themselves, participation has definite positive effects. “It gives them a sense of team and community,” said Fable. “It’s a bond-creating atmosphere. They travel together and go to tournaments together. It builds a sense of being part of a whole.”
The team entered their first tournament after suffering a major blow. Two of the South Windsor High School physical education teachers, James Warnock and Brenden McClay, were injured after being struck by a motor vehicle on school grounds. Warnock is the physical education teacher that every Unified team requires. “He’s out for a little while now,” said Fable. “This is the week right after [the accident] happened and the week with our first game.” Both teachers are expected to recover soon, and Fable is hopeful Warnock will return before the end of the season.
Teams from Manchester, Rockville, Southington, Cheshire and Daniel Hand High School all gathered to compete and have fun at the tournament.