Deerfield H.S.’s annual Buddy Basketball game celebrates inclusion more than final score

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — The Warrior Buddies student group at Deerfield High School held their annual Warrior Buddy Basketball Showdown.

And as usual, there wasn’t an empty seat nor a dry eye.

Warrior Buddies is a student-led organization that promotes inclusion and acceptance of all students, with and without disabilities, according to their website and the showdown is one of their biggest events of the year.

Each player is teamed with a student buddy – for assistance, encouragement and for fun.

Nina Aliprandi’s daughter played for her last time this year. She is non-verbal but Aliprandi knows just how much she loves being out there. “Just to watch and see her supported by her peer buddies running up and down the court,” she said. “They are handing her the ball and people are cheering her on. She hears her name over the loudspeaker. And that’s when she smiles.”
“Everyone leaves this place with a different feeling than when they walked in,” parent Robin Roth said.
The one basketball game where no one’s watching the scoreboard; just the teamwork on the court.
“It just shows our community and how strong we are when we all come together” student Ellie Ginsburg.
The game teaches just as much about empathy and inclusion as hoops. “it just leaves you with a good feeling and everyone needs a good feeling nowadays”.

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