By Richard Rhinehart
Boston, Massachusetts, November 20, 2012 – At Boston’s TD Garden November 17, participants of Ultimate Sports Program’s Boston Celtics Experience took to the famed parquet floor for a special halftime game of basketball.
Sponsored by the Boston Celtics and World T.E.A.M. Sports, the spirited halftime contest between teams of disabled and able-bodied youth age six to 21 offered Celtics fans an opportunity to see an inclusive sports competition. Calling the Experience “the best ever,” Ultimate Sports Program’s Program Director Steve Berube said the game offered most of the players an opportunity to shoot and score. “In six minutes, we had six different kids score, ending with an 8th grade AAU player hitting an NBA three at the buzzer.”
“We did not pick the teams until we arrived in our seating area in the Promenade of the Garden,” Berube explained. “This allowed us to make sure the teams were fairly even with age, size and ability.”
“There were four teams of six kids each, as well as a ‘dance’ team,” said Patti Haley, a World T.E.A.M. Sports volunteer who attended the competition. “The MC provided by the Celtics was quite entertaining and just reminded the kids that the audience wanted to see scoring so don’t worry about playing defense.”
World T.E.A.M. Sports’ sponsorship provided funding to help cover the cost of tickets to the arena, as well as supporting the players. “World T.E.A.M. Sports sent us enough shirts so that everyone going down to the Garden Floor got to wear one, this included the players, coaches, dancers and the four girls who carried the World T.E.A.M. Sports banner,” said Berube.
The halftime game provided opportunities for the participating children to shoot and score, as well as work together as teams in accomplishing goals. “A great side story is a young man named Garrett Almeida who has never played organized sports until he found Ultimate Sports Program,” Berube reported. “This was his first game he ever played. Garrett got a rebound the first time down the court and passed it on to a younger player. Next time down, his teams point guard hit him with a pass on the foul line and Garrett nailed a jumper. The look on his face was priceless.”
Following the game, the Ultimate Sports Program players “lined up to greet the players as they came back on after halftime,” Haley recalled.
“Ultimate Sports Program would like to thank World T.E.A.M. Sports for all they did to help us make this event special to the 100 people who attended,” said Berube.
Ultimate Sports Program is a program of Massachusetts’ non-profit organization, The Association for Community Living. Creating sporting programs in football, basketball, sled hockey and many outdoor activities for special needs children and teens age six to 21, Ultimate Sports Program has worked closely with World T.E.A.M. Sports for several years. Future partnership events are anticipated.
View World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ digital photograph Flickr gallery of the Boston Celtics Experience.