Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Hopkinton High School's Student News Site

HHS Press

Unified Basketball: Friendships On and Off the Court

Photo credits: Chip Collins Players John Murray (left) and Jacob Murasko (right) having fun at practice after school!

The Hillers unified basketball team is cruising along in their season with a 3-3 record, all while making every player and individual in the program feel included and supported.

“In 2018, we began with unified track, and the following year we started basketball. I have been doing it ever since,” coach and founder Chip Collins said.

Coach and founder Chip Collins looks forward to what the rest of the season will bring.

Unified basketball has become a popular choice for many students. The program strives to promote social inclusion through sports and to help form friendships both on and off the court. The team consists of athletes and buddies who get paired up during a game to support and assist one another.

“At any game, you see the bonds on the court. Off the court and in school, they say hello to each other which is the cool thing about it. Some of the players are non-verbal, but when they see people they know there is immediately a big smile or high five,” Collins said.

The competitive aspect of sports provides all players with a common goal to win and opportunities to form new relationships with others.

“There is genuine compassion, understanding of one another, and just being in the moment with lots of smiles,” Collins said.

John Murray has been a part of the unified program for two years and has quickly become one of the star athletes. When talking to Murray about his experience, an immediate smile lit up on his face.

“I love being part of the Hopkinton unified team. My team is doing really well, and I love playing basketball because it is my favorite sport,” Murray said.

As the program became more well-known, many students began to involve themselves, and some were even willing to stop playing other fall sports to be able to participate.

Ella Tedstone has been a buddy to unified athletes in several other different programs and is now involved with the basketball league after moving on from her soccer career.

Buddies Lilly Goldweber (left) and Ella Tedstone (right) are excited about their upcoming game against Norwood.

“I used to play soccer since I was six years old. I looked more into the unified program and decided that I would rather do it because it makes me feel good. I like forming relationships with different people in my community.”

Tedstone has learned many valuable lessons through unified sports, specifically the importance of putting yourself out there to meet and connect with new people.

“I think it is a really beneficial program not just for the athletes but for the buddies as well because it gives everyone a chance to form new relationships and become friends with fellow students they may have never talked to before,” Tedstone explained.

Similarly, Lilly Goldweber decided to become part of the unified community in place of her soccer career.


“I think the unified teams are a great program because it shows how close everyone is in the school and how much we care about others. It is a great opportunity to be active and inclusive,” Goldweber said.

Show support at the team’s next game on Wednesday, November 8th, at 3:45 in the HHS Athletic Center!

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