One of Auburn’s Unified Basketball Teams has been invited to join the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on March 29. The team will participate in pre-game warm-ups with the Celtics, and play a halftime game versus another unified team from Massachusetts.
To raise money for the trip, members of the team will be selling candy bars at the Auburn Post Office, 60 Auburn Street, on Saturday morning from 9am-12pm. Any donations will be gratefully accepted.
Unified basketball is a program under the Special Olympics that “brings together athletes with intellectual disabilities and athletes without intellectual disabilities (called ‘unified partners’) to train and compete on the same team”, according to the Massachusetts Special Olympics website.
Lauren Hopper, coordinator of Auburn’s Unified program, says Auburn currently has two unified basketball teams, along with teams in five other sports.
“Auburn Unified Sports has been around for over 20 years” says Hopper. “Auburn was one of the first programs in Massachusetts”, she added.
Hopper noted that all the unified partners and several helpers are members of Scout troops from Millbury, Worcester and Auburn.
“A Boy Scout troop originally started this team” said Hopper.
Special Olympics-Massachusetts will bring its Winter Games Basketball Tournament to Auburn High School for the 9th straight year on March 11-12. The Auburn Unified Basketball teams will play in a qualifying tournament on February 11th. If they place first or second, they will move on to the Winter Games at AHS.