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Unified Tennis Racket Rundown
Unified Tennis Racket Rundown
Sara Guillen, Engineer • October 20, 2023

Unified Tennis Racket Rundown

What Is Brunswick’s Unified Tennis Team?

Unified sports are sports where people with intellectual disabilities and people without intellectual disabilities work together, team up, and play a sport. The teams vary between sports, but they usually consist of the athlete (person with disability) and their partner (person without a disability) and they both play on the same team. This idea was based on the principle of training together and building a friendship, and NIRSA , who are partnered with the Special Olympics has a quote about that is: “On the field we are teammates, off the field we’re friends”. The Unified Sports are partnered with the Special Olympics too. All ten of Frederick County high schools offer unified sports, tennis for fall, bocce for winter, and track & field for the spring.

Unified sports are for everyone — no matter the skill level, experience, and upbringing.

Unified tennis is the fall season sport. It’s beautiful to see the opportunities that are given to our students, it’s inclusive to everyone. You meet different people, and meet people who you wouldn’t typically wouldn’t see. Ms. Gardner is the team coach for Brunswick’s Unified Tennis and Track and Field teams.

Definitely something I love, near and dear to my heart. I’m glad I’m a part of it [unified tennis] and I’m very happy to have the kids that have joined our team.”

— Ms. Gardner, Coach

Unified Tennis works differently than regular tennis. The team only had four-five matches per season. The games are always played in doubles, an athlete, and a partner. Ms. Gardner has seen every partner and athlete grow up through the years. “Definitely something I love, near and dear to my heart. I’m glad I’m a part of it [unified tennis] and I’m very happy to have the kids that have joined our team,” she expressed. The partners need to be patient in order to teach the athletes well, and this year’s helpers have done just that. Brunswick’s Unified Tennis team is not overly competitive in any way. They want to be good at tennis, they want to have a good experience. Every away game, every home game is an experience for everyone.

I talked with one of the partners, Wiley Taylor, a senior. He talked about the team and his partner, Connor DeBeltz, a sophomore. “It’s not all about winning, it’s about having fun,” he said enthusiastically. He explained how the partners help the athlete understand the game, and how the game is played. The partners help the athlete and teach them the ropes of the game and the skills needed to learn the game. The team is meant to unify the students that have different backgrounds to play the same game, on the same team. “You don’t have to be worry about being bad, it’s typically everyone’s first time,” he comments. 

You don’t have to be worry about being ‘bad’, it’s typically everyone’s first time.”

— Wiley Taylor, Senior

Games are shorter than regular tennis games. There are only three sets instead of six sets, and four games are played in one set. The team does many activities that a regular sport wouldn’t do, for example on October 25, 2023, the team will be making scarecrows. The games are fun, and inviting even when you have no experience

It’s not all about winning, it’s about having fun.”

— Wiley Taylor, Senior

As mentioned before, on Wednesday, October 25th, the team is holding a scarecrow decorating/building activity. It’s held on the high school campus from 2:20 pm – 3:30 pm. Come down and join us to support the team and have some fun after school!

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About the Contributor
Sara Guillen, Engineer
Grade: 12 Years as an Engineer: 1 How do you contribute to being a Roader? "She was president of the Book Club in 2022-2023, and plays for the Brunswick Tennis team. She is taking Journalism 1, hoping to learn more about journalism." What song do you listen to the most? "Ballroom Extravaganza" by DPR IAN What motivates you? "Sara is inspired by writing, music, art, anything that has to do with creativity motivates her to create new things, and see the creative side that people have." Why journalism? "She looks forward to being a journalist for The Gazette, hoping to read and write many entries."
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