Unified Eagles tackle unsure season

Lauren B. ’22 and Pearl H. '23 share smiles at a Unified Basketball game in January of 2020. The Eagles’ season got cut short due to Covid and they are anxiously awaiting news about their upcoming season. Photo: Emmeri Grooms

Sports and activities are a crucial part of influencing the Heritage environment. Close bonds are formed between former strangers, and students get to be a part of a tight knit community.

   As Heritage sports begin to get back in session during the fall season, students wonder what is to come of winter sports, such as hockey, wrestling and basketball, including the Unified Eagles program. 

   The Unified Eagles is a perfect example of this as it provides students who require more aid the chance to participate in a group activity that builds teamwork and communication skills. The program allows other students the opportunity to aid fellow classmates while also forming strong bonds with each other. 

   The program is beneficial for so many students on different levels. Students participating in the program are able to become closer to their fellow cohorts and make friends they would not have otherwise expected. Students not participating in the program are able to show their support for the players by attending their games, which in turn energizes the players. 

   “I know that the fans cheering really excites the players,” explains Jaxxon Gomez-Hathaway ’21, a Unified Partner in the program during previous years.

   This show of support encourages closer relationships between players and outside students, building the community that is Heritage.

   Similarly to other winter sports, the Unified Eagles basketball team is unsure of how their season will play out, if it even begins. If the program is able to progress in the spring, many changes would need to take place in order to keep the students healthy when playing. 

   As Gomez-Hathaway illustrates, “not being able to high five and congratulate players will be tough, because that’s just a natural reaction.” 

   Despite this possibility of not being able to play at all when the time comes, students and players are still finding ways of interacting with each other in the school day. 

   “We can see them (Unified athletes) in the halls or around the school when we can,” Victoria Bell ’21 explains.

   Normally around this time, players would be gearing up for their first practice in November, however no news about the program has been released on if it can actually happen or not.

   Some students who do not participate in the program may be wondering what they can do to help out during this unprecedented time.

   “One thing fellow students can do during this time is be supportive of each other. I know people have their differences, but now more than ever, it is important to consider fellow students, and understand that each person is reacting to the current time differently,” Gomez-Hathaway expresses.

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