Inclusion. That's the word missing these days from a lot of political discussions but it's a word that has been embraced for years in the sports world, and it was on display on a cloudless Friday afternoon at Agoura High, where the baseball team held its seventh annual MVP game.
Players partner will students who are part of the school's special education program for moderate and severe disabilities in a game of baseball. The band, spirit squad, dance team and lots of students and faculty came out to the field to show their support. Even the Las Virgenes Unified School Disrict's superintendent, Daniel Stepenosky, made an appearance.
Players and coaches had arms around each other. There were high-fives and teaching moments in the dugout, on the field, in the stands.
Agoura Coach Anthony Chevrie brought out his 2-year-old son, Anthony Jr.
"It's a great experience to give back to everybody in the community and have a good time and show people baseball is a great sport to have fun with," Chevrie said.
Outfielder Jonny DeLuca said players get to know their fellow students and when the game is over they don't just say "goodbye" and move on.
Students say, "Hi" to players on campus and vice versa.
Last November, the CIF announced a new partnership with the Special Olympics and the California Department of Education to establish an inclusive culture to promote participation among student-athletes with disabilities.
There are lots of schools and programs already doing just that. Sports continues to set a great example defining what inclusion truly means.
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