Cover Story: The Big Game

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  • Laura Waltman, Nella Schwanekamp, Rachel Ma and Amilia Guzman Laura Waltman, Nella Schwanekamp, Rachel Ma and Amilia Guzman
  • Trip Waltman takes control of the ball Trip Waltman takes control of the ball
  • Michael Daun and Logan Powers Michael Daun and Logan Powers
  • Coaches Amy Dunlap, Michael Phillips, Michael Daun and Gene Washington Coaches Amy Dunlap, Michael Phillips, Michael Daun and Gene Washington
  • The Big Game spectator and fan club The Big Game spectator and fan club
  • Logan Powers takes the ball to the goal Logan Powers takes the ball to the goal
  • Darien Washington takes control of the ball Darien Washington takes control of the ball
  • Darien Washington takes control of the ball Darien Washington takes control of the ball
  • Ellie Schaub (center) congratulates Logan Powers and Rachel Ma Ellie Schaub (center) congratulates Logan Powers and Rachel Ma
  • Rachel Ma makes a break away with the ball Rachel Ma makes a break away with the ball
  • Logan Powers and Beatries Fries go toe-to-toe on the ball Logan Powers and Beatries Fries go toe-to-toe on the ball
  • More game strategy More game strategy
  • Logan and Rachel Ma strategize Logan and Rachel Ma strategize
  • In “The Big Game,” everyone’s a winner! In “The Big Game,” everyone’s a winner!
  • “The Braves” squad “The Braves” squad
  • Stretching before “The Big Game” Stretching before “The Big Game”
  • Announcers and vocalists Nella Schwanekamp, Laura Waltman and Nick Ramos Announcers and vocalists Nella Schwanekamp, Laura Waltman and Nick Ramos
  • The Lady Braves Soccer squad The Lady Braves Soccer squad
  • Lady Braves player Annie Garretson, Ellie Schaub and Cecilia Fu of “The Other Guys” team Lady Braves player Annie Garretson, Ellie Schaub and Cecilia Fu of “The Other Guys” team
  • Matthew Schwanekamp, Beck Graham, Fritz Graham, and Will Asplin Matthew Schwanekamp, Beck Graham, Fritz Graham, and Will Asplin
  • “The Big Game” soccer fans Jimmy Waltman, Robin Schwanekamp and “Nick” “The Big Game” soccer fans Jimmy Waltman, Robin Schwanekamp and “Nick”
     


For weeks leading up to a summer-like Saturday morning last fall, members of “The Braves” soccer team prepared for “The Big Game.” February football fans might be thinking of “the big game” as the Super Bowl, but for these players, the event carried equal importance, and unlike the Super Bowl, everyone would leave the field a winner!
Over the past seven years, Indian Hill’s fall “soccer fest,” has grown to become a favorite tradition played out on the Braves field at Indian Hill Elementary School. Co-sponsored by the Indian Hill Athletic Department and the Indian Hill Recreation Commission, the game is the culmination of a season of practicing life skills for special needs students in the IH school district. For the Lady Braves Varsity Soccer Squad, the event is an opportunity to give back over a shared passion for their sport.
The first team, “The Braves,” got together on a weekly basis in rigorous preparation for the big match up. Coached by Indian Hill parent Michael Daun, the practice season provided developmentally challenged players with ways to learn new skills and talents that can’t always be taught in a classroom. Game rules, drills and good sportsmanship as well as working together were top tasks. And the squad’s perseverance was richly rewarded when they dominated the field in a display of utter hustle and heart.
The second team, led by Indian Hill Varsity Soccer coach Amy Dunlap, was affectionately referred to as “The Other Guys,” who good-naturedly set up opportunities for their opponents to pass and score, ending with a goal tally that was heavily in favor of “The Braves.”
A cheering section of fans extended across the field, with spectators snapping pictures and yelling words of encouragement. Students, teachers, parents and former players excitedly watched the special game, with roars of approval when goal after goal was scored.
The event has turned into one the entire community can find joy in, whether their role is as an announcer, referee, player, or spectator. “The Braves” got to express their competitive sides in real time, while the “Other Guys” had just as much fun ensuring the game was a success. Following “The Braves” team’s victorious finish, pizza and trophies were distributed, bringing a fun conclusion to the annual event.
The tradition will continue next year and the Braves will lose some of the older players who move on to new experiences, but will also gain many new players that will be able to carry on the team’s legacy and learn the values of soccer, community-building and social fun for themselves.

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