Special needs students become basketball stars at Wellington Special K game
WELLINGTON, Kan. (KAKE) - There was a big game in KAKEland Friday, on the basketball court. Derby took on Wellington for what's called the Special K game.
This match-up of red and green is about friendly competition. They do keep score, but there is no clear winner like on Super Bowl Sunday. For these special athletes, it's about feeling like a sports star.
The sounds of a basketball going up and down the court at Wellington High School. But this is no ordinary high school basketball game.
This is a game just for special needs students. Where their peers cheer them on. Supporting them. Because this is like their Super Bowl or NBA Finals. One parent says it's all about his watching his son.
"I think he enjoys it, but it's really hard for him to explain how much he enjoys it because of his autism,” said Richard Seifert, a parent.
The enjoyment goes a long way. Feeling like a basketball star, even for one game.
"He feels really supported and accepted and that is just wonderful. He's out right now. He's getting ready to play,” said Rachel Hearalson, a parent.
Like any athlete, Rachel Hearalson's son was a little nervous about the game.
"At first, he was a little apprehensive and stuff, but he's really enjoying it now,” said Hearalson.
Being a first-round pick to play on a sports team is something special-needs students aren't used to. But Friday is for them.
"Usually, sometimes, we're the ones that are kind of set off to the side. We'll this right now is the limelight. This is all for them. And so they get to feel like it's a homecoming for them. And that everybody is there. And everybody is rooting them on. And now they are what everybody else is,” said Brenda Gray, a staff coach for Special K Basketball Game.
This isn't the first time this game has been played. This is the eighth time. They plan to do it again next year.