It was one of those feel-good situations. It was those situations where everyone involved emerged enlightened and proud of what had just taken place.
On Sunday afternoon, several members of the Great Bend High School Panthers boys’ basketball team under the direction of head coach Tim Brooks attended the basketball practice for the Great Bend Storm Special Olympics teams. The guys seemed a little uncertain at first, but by the time the practice was in full gear, they were really getting into the spirit of it.
The Panthers helped coach, subbed in off the bench and even scrimmaged against Storm athletes. Brooks said his boys had a wonderful time.
The Panthers’ visit followed a visit a few weeks back from Barton Community College women’s Cougar basketball players with coach Alan Clark. Clark reported the same response from his squad.
This went both ways.
For the Special Olympians, the GBHS and BCC players were superstars. Playing them challenged the Storm and pushed them to be better.
Anyone who has coached or helped with Special Olympics for any length of time will say they learn more from the athletes than they can possibly teach them. This was clear following both of these practices.
Brooks, Clark and their teams are to be commended. They were willing to come and be a part of this important program.
When everybody went home, everyone had a better understanding of each other. Despite their differences, they all had one thing in common, the spoke the language of basketball and that brought them together.
Finding common ground to allow us to get along with others is something we could benefit from all aspects of our society as well.