Players are joined by competition, friendship, and comradery today at 6:00 PM CT. A Unified team from Limestone Community High School (LCHS) is competing today in the Special Olympics North America Unified eSports League Finals. Participants will be playing Rocket League, a vehicular soccer game that allows pairs of two to team up.
With the mission of Unified Sports – promoting social inclusion through sport – Special Olympics North America and PlayVS teamed up to enter the virtual world of interscholastic eSports.
During this inaugural season, 147 students with and without intellectual disabilities on 49 Unified teams representing 26 high schools from nine state Special Olympics programs came together to find connection through eSports. These states included Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana, New York, Texas, and Virginia.
From Limestone Community High School in Bartonville, Illinois, Reese Smith, Mikey McCarthy, and Aidan Ward make up the team competing in the finals today.
The LCHS roster also includes Ryan Lappie, Connor Chambers, Caspin Adams, and Jett Callear, coached by LCHS technical director Jonathan Fredrick. LCHS has embraced this new program as a means to bring students together, including many who have never played before.
“Our players have seen the benefit an outlet like eSports can provide. From grade improvement to social growth, the LCHS team has welcomed eSports with open arms,” says Frederick.
Throughout the season, LCHS has rostered two teams comprised of four Special Olympics Illinois athletes and two Unified Partners.
“We’re thrilled to be competing in the finals today! The team has come so far, and we’re so excited to continue,” Fredrick added.
It is safe to say eSports is a program that inspires by a principle of inclusion and acceptance for all.
Good luck to all athletes competing today! Interested in viewing the tournament? Tune in today at twitch.tv/specialolympicsillinois.