Sirens and First Responders Welcomed Unified Team Home on Sunday


Above, crowd welcomes Unified team at FHS Sunday afternoon.

The Franklin Unified Basketball Team did it!

According to Massachusetts Special Olympics, “Unified Sports® brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to train and compete on the same team.

“Participants improve their physical fitness, sharpen their skills and learn acceptance and inclusion while participating in Unified Sports. A primary goal of Unified Sports is to equalize the ability level of Special Olympics athletes with their partners and to promote inclusion through team practice and competition.”

At Franklin High School, the Unified Basketball team – with about six years of history -- has gone from success to success, earning the right to compete nationally in Orlando Florida – the first such team from the Bay State to achieve that distinction

They beat a Connecticut team on Thursday and, then successfully fought off a challenge from a team from Oregon, 37-35.

And Sunday afternoon, they returned to Franklin, noisily escorted by a police cruiser and police motorcycle in the leads and other police and fire vehicles following them as they made their way to the vicinity of the FHS gymnasium.

There, they were met by parents, well-wishers, members of the fire and police departments, school officials, members of the town council and school committee, and state rep Jeff Roy.

Cheering and hugs followed.

As Jeremy Rice, one of the team’s coaches told CBS News earlier, "It's not a team. It's a group of friends playing together."

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