Special players get special treatment at special game at Oregon High School
Members of the Village of Progress All Stars and Ogle County All Stars soaked in the energy Jan. 24 when the two teams met on the court.
The Oregon High School students and faculty welcomed the two teams to their school for the annual basketball game.
Both teams went back and forth in the scoring with students cheering every play.
When a player missed a shot, their opponents would sometimes hand them the ball so they could try the shot again.
The game offered a chance to showcase both teams' skills in front of an audience that was supportive and cheering them for all participants.
"This is my favorite day of the year," said OHS principal Andrew Nelson. "I absolutely love this day because everyone is supportive."
Nelson said the game has been played for four years and is a highlight of the school year.
For the students, it is a chance to get to know the athletes of the Village of Progress and Ogle County Educational Coop.
"This is a fun experience for everyone," said OHS senior Josh Drew. "The best part is knowing how much fun the athletes are having out there."
Drew volunteered as a referee for the game and could not wait to get out on the court.
"I always look forward to this game," he said.
The day started with the OHS pep band playing the school song and a selection of tunes while the athletes warmed up.
The National Anthem was performed by the OHS choir.
Athletes were announced and then took a lap around the gym to wave to the cheering crowd.
When the game started, play-by-play announcing was done by OHS students.
The format of the game was 8-minute quarters with a time-out every 4 minutes to change lineups.
Members of the team that were unable to be on the court assisted their teams by inbounding the ball.
During halftime, despite a technical malfunction that required quick thinking to find a CD player, the OHS dance team performed a number for the audience.
In the end, the game was a positive day for the OHS students and faculty, but more importantly, it was a day for the athletes.
The VIllage of Progress is a not for profit corporation that provides training services to Ogle County residents with disabilities age 16 or older so that they may live a fulfilling life as contributing members of their home and community.
The primary population that uses the VIllage of Progress is the developmentally disabled.
The Ogle County Educational Cooperative provides support and services for students, parents, and teachers in order to help students achieve their full potential in school and life.
They have three programs for students with disabilities and another program for students who are not able to attend their local school for other reasons.
Some of the programs include special education, occupational and physical therapy, and an autism team.