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Unified hoops players enjoy the limelight

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By Brian Forbes

What if Chatfield and Columbine played a basketball game and no one in the stands seemed to care about who was winning, but yet they cheered every basket?

Or imagine a game when a player making a basket was worthy of celebration on so many different levels, or when smiles and high-fives were pure and without the slightest hint of making the other team feel bad.

Prior to the annual rivalry doubleheader of the Chatfield and Columbine boys and girls team, the schools’ Unified teams – for students with disabilities – squared off.

The final score? We’ll get to that, although it was as important as the hair color of each of these special student-athletes.

“It’s just something special because there are so few activities that they can participate in,” said Lynne Kurowski, who was there with husband John to watch their son, Zack, represent the Chargers. “It’s fun for him to have that chance to do that kind of stuff too and be with his friends after school.”

Zack is shy, but not too much to tell you he had fun.

A couple years ago, these teams were the same, so it was a little more special to have two teams of familiar friends taking the court.

“I don’t know if they realize that they’re playing against each other,” John Kurowski said highlighting the lack of competition between friends.

The final score? Hold on.

Both teams played hard, both teams played clean, and both sets of fans – both parents and students – supported each side. More students helped out on the court, acting as officials (who never once were told they made a bad call) and helping the players take shots and run – or walk, or ride – the floor.

Some kids rebounded everything. Others never missed a shot. Others showed off their range with shots around the free-throw line and beyond.

So who won? Well, who knows? There was a scoreboard and there was a final score, but anyone looking at that when the final horn sounded was missing the best part – both sets of players exchanging high-fives and hugs with each other as they left the floor.