Allied sports provides inclusive opportunities


Photo by Lia Koski

The Allied Sports Team concluded their basketball season with the epic game that took place on Oct. 29 against Warren Township High School. This game was held during third and fourth period. MHS students filled the stands as they supported their peers. It was a close game with lots of talented players, but Mundelein did come out with a victory in the end!

Lia Koski, Reporter

  The Allied Sports Team at Mundelein High School is the sole definition of establishing communities. This team helps to provide athletic opportunities for students with learning and or physical disabilities here at MHS. 

  The Allied Sports Team participates in all different types of sports depending on the season. Some of these sports include bowling, basketball, and soccer. The students practice diligently all year and compete with schools around the area.  

  The team is mainly run by head coach Eric Billittier, who works in the Transition Center at MHS. Billitter started coaching Allied Soccer at MHS in 2014, and then he coached Special Olympics Basketball and Track at Jacobs High School from 2016-2018. Since then, Billitter has been coaching The Allied Bowling, Soccer, and Basketball teams here at MHS. 

  “Allied Sports is a Co-ed Interscholastic program that provides athletic opportunities for students with disabilities who may not otherwise be able to participate in general education or general athletic programs. Athletes work together on a team with student coaches to engage in physical fitness, build social skills, and develop positive peer relationships while competing against other schools,” Billitter explained. 

  This year, Billitter hopes that the Allied Sports Team will continue to gain access to sports that other teams here at Mundelein have. In addition, “It’s really about continuing the districts’ pursuit of equity, growth, and collaboration,” Billitter said. 

  In fact, it was only until this year that the Allied Sports Team was officially recognized as a sport under the MHS roster, instead of just being referred to as a club. 

  Additionally, many students are not aware of the Allied Sports Team that we have at Mundelein High School. Coach Billitter instructed that the team could always use more student coaches and peer leaders to help the students on the team. 

  “We really try to build community and affiliation by having some of our gen-ed students work with our students in special education,” Billitter added. 

  Another staff member at MHS who helps to support the Allied Sports Team is Maureen Baker, a teacher in the Supported Learning Program. Baker works with these students during the day and then can later witness the results that being on the team has for its students/members. 

  While Baker may not coach the team, she still plays a vital role in its success. “My role is to help my students that are on the team remember their schedules and to be ready to go when Mr. Billitter comes to grab the students. I also get to be a cheerleader by watching my students participate in the activities,” Baker said. 

  Along with enhancing the players’ high school experiences through building relationships and life skills, the Allied Sports Team also plays an important role in advocating for equal opportunities, as Billitter mentioned earlier. 

  “Having this team brings awareness of our students with disabilities into our spotlight and helps complete the message that ‘all of our students are our students.’ Inclusivity is the key. Not to mention the joy that the team brings to our students who are participants.” Baker added.

  For example, Elliott Catania, a student who has played on the Allied Sports Team at MHS for two years now, shared how he enjoys playing sports with his friends because “it’s a lot of fun.” He also added that his favorite sport to play is basketball. 

  Even without being a member or player of the Allied Sports Team, Mundelein students can support the team by attending their games and cheering on their peers. By doing this, students can help accelerate the impacts of the Allied Sports Team for its members and for the whole school community.