RB Special Olympics team Packs the Place

Jessica Whigam, Story Editor

On December 6, 2017, RBHS held the annual Special Olympics Pack the Place basketball game. Students from RB and Lyons Township High School came together and helped out the students in their special education programs and had some fun playing basketball. This year there are two new coaches for RB’s team.

Coach and RBHS special education teacher Nicolette Anderson is one of the new coaches leading the team this year. Although this is not her first year coaching the Special Olympics team, she is really looking forward to it.

“This is not my first coaching experience for Special Olympics, but I will say it is one of the most meaningful coaching experiences I could ask for. Many of the students that are on the team are students that I have taught for a couple of years, so being able to be a part of this recreational activity with them is exciting and so rewarding. They get to look to me not only as their teacher, but as their coach and team member. It keeps me connected with the students on a different level and that is one of my favorite parts,” said Anderson.

Coach Danielle Delzotti, also a special education instructor at RB, is also a first year coach. She is working closely with players and getting to know them a little bit better outside of the classroom.

“I am very excited about coaching this year.  I know many of the players as students and now I am getting to know them as athletes. It has been really a great experience for all of us.  I love to play basketball and it has been fun to share that interest with them,” said Delzotti.

Both coaches are having a lot of fun coaching the students and getting to know them better outside of the normal classroom setting. They help the players when they become discouraged and nervous about games. They also help the players stay excited and get into the game.

Coach Delzotti, the Head Coach, myself, and the team developed very explicit expectations while at practice and on the court. They also know what would be unexpected. With that said, it has helped the players a lot in understanding what their expectations are at practice and games. If a player is feeling down, the one thing we do is just give them time. Eventually, they will be able to move on a come back in,” said Anderson. “I think another big part of keeping the team positive is to always keep the commentary positive, and the encouragement from the team strong. When you hear the cheering from the sidelines and from the crowd, it really can overshadow any negative feelings that they might be having.”

With 15 players – one of the biggest teams they have had – and practices twice a week, the team is really coming together and preparing for the big game.

“The team has been working really hard this year. They have been following a very structured practice schedule with a focus on building their skills, and teaching them offensive and defensive plays, which seems to be a little different in the past. They have done a really great job at learning their positions and we are excited to see how they execute at the first game,” said Anderson.