If you go to Oakland Mills, then you may have heard the term ‘Allied Sports’ before, but may not know what it means or what it entails. Allied sports is an opportunity for life skills students to participate in sports from those with severe to moderate disabilities. Here at Oakland Mills, we have three Allied Sports offered, soccer in the fall, bowling in the winter, and softball in the spring.
I had a chance to interview the coaches, a peer mentor, and one of the team’s players’ about the allied sports team. Pickett, coach for the soccer team said, “the goal of allied sports is to include disabled students in ‘typical’ (being used in order to represent sports that are generally done by people without disabilities.) sports or activities.” Psychology teacher, Mrs. Anderson-Little added on by saying “these sports help establish social norms by promoting teamwork in the kids.” Mr. Laverick agreed, saying “it helps to promote healthy lifestyles.”
“The teamwork this sport inspires is incredible,” said Pickett, when asked of one of her most memorable moments while coaching was. “ [Like] when the kids on the home team join the other so they have enough players and can play the game. The teamwork and unity this sport has inspired isn’t just a school or countywide thing, it has even branched over into our neighboring counties, and last year the first intercounty allied sports soccer final was played, which our home team won.”
Alicia Russel, a senior who plays allied soccer, softball and is also on the cheer team allowed me to interview her. “Allied sports are really fun because you get to meet and play against new people.” She said of the activity. According to a peer mentor, allied sports are a great opportunity for its participants as “It helps with motivation for the students, and you can see them happy and enjoying themselves because they feel normal and included.”
Anyone who hasn’t played on a JV or Varsity sports team they are trying out for can join Allied Sports. This sport is trying to promote inclusivity and growth but should be celebrated because of the fact it is open. This is not a sport for the disabled, rather it is a sport for those who want to connect and learn from those who are different from them.