PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some local students are shooting hoops competitively for the very first time as Mon Valley School has formed a basketball team.
For the players, who are all living with some type of disability, it’s about more than just the sport.
For the Mon Valley Mustangs this game is more than just passing, dribbling and shooting.
The score isn’t everything as the opportunity and overcoming obstacles are far more important.
“The students get so excited over their accomplishments and it makes you feel almost as excited as they are because you feel their excitement and their emotion,” Amanda McMillen said.
It is obvious that they are pumped up to play. They have good reason to be as this is the first year Mon Valley School in the South Hills is offering a competitive basketball team.
They even have cheerleaders and of course, a mascot to get the crowd fired up.
All of the students involved are between the ages of 17 to 21. They also have special needs ranging from autism to intellectual disabilities.
“It’s nice when they come here and play. They just really demonstrate the person that they are and you don’t see the disability,” McMillen said.
The players on both teams have a chance to forget about the challenges they face each and every day and have some fun in a social setting.
“I like the defense because I’m really good at defense because I like to run around and exercise,” Johnathon Kiratzis said.
“We get ready by practicing in the weight room, and learning our cheers and our moves,” cheerleader Layshaua Pitts said.
All the action on the court isn’t only exciting for the players, but also for the people in the stands including parents, other students and teachers.
“It’s like being at a Steeler game, but being here at Mon Valley School,” Debbie Milko said.