PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some friendly competition took place in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The goal was to win, of course. But more importantly, the games were also a lesson in accepting others regardless of their abilities.
The 6th annual Unified Indoor Bocce Tournament got underway on Tuesday afternoon. Students with and without disabilities all competed together for the chance to take home the gold at the Gallagher Athletic Center at Jefferson University.
“Here today is our 2020 unified bocce competition for elementary school programs,” said Chase Trimmer from the Special Olympics Pennsylvania.
Each school brought their own cheering squads to this fierce but friendly competition among students.
The teams have been practicing for about eight weeks, perfecting their bocce game.
“Today we have 12 teams from six different elementary and middle schools in Philadelphia, as well as our friends from Indian Lane Elementary,” Trimmer said.
Special Olympics Pennsylvania hosts the event to bring students together, hoping to promote a positive school environment.
The goal is not just to take home the gold, but to promote inclusivity and acceptance.
“Not everyone is going to be able to take home the gold but everyone will be able to take home the value of being inclusive, the value of having teammates, the value of being a good teammate,” Trimmer said. “The friendships that they have established by playing bocce with some of them who may not have math or science class with, but are in the same building and oftentimes they are coming together for the first and only time through practice for this sport.”
It was a team effort and a life lesson that goes far beyond just sports.
“Ultimately to experience the joy of sport, which is something everybody wants, regardless of your physical or intellectual abilities,” Trimmer said.
A total of 18 unified indoor bocce teams, representing three elementary schools and five middle schools, all compered in Tuesday’s tournament.