EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - It's hard to believe that the Buddy Ball All-Star Game has been in East Brunswick for the past twelve years, yet it is still one of the premier sports events in the township. Says Mayor Brad Cohen, "It is a true East Brunswick experience. It's really something special about our town."
"Twelve years ago, our goal was to showcase the basketball skills our Buddies were learning week after week culminating in an all-star game. The game has flourished over the years into an event that all participants have enjoyed," according to the Buddy Ball Directors.
The event last Saturday really was something to see. Several hundred parents and friends filled the bleachers at Churchill Junior High School, cheering on the Buddies - young people on the autism spectrum, many with physical disabilities - play basketball with the help of their Pals - local students, young adults, and athletes - who work to create an energized environment of joy and athletic accomplishment. Buddies ran a victory lap, cheered on by their Pals, then played an energetic and full-involvement game of basketball. parents were supportive and happy as all Buddies played and shone on the boards.
It's all about commitment, say the directors, the commitment of both Buddies and Pals to express themselves in a fun environment and to be a part of something special.
Buddy ball practices have been held on Saturdays at Churchill from December through March. The Fast Break Buddy Ball Program is designed to keep the participant in a constant flow of of learning about the game of basketball. The goal is to use every minute available to ensure that each participant gets the most of the program.
Long-time East Brunswick Board of Education Member Vicki Becker noted, "I can't say enough about this event and these people and the time they give to volunteerism. It's also great to see these involved and wonderful parents who are so invested in their children's lives and education. It's incredible and inspiring."
Addressing those assembled, Mayor Cohen said, "It is an honor to be invited to this annual game. This is a true East Brunswick event. It is one of the things that we do best. This is a time to celebrate East Brunswick and the things that we do best. This program is a great example of a community at its best."
Want to know more about this program? Here's the website. ( Use the Buddy Ball Link)
You can also email the group at email@example.com
Check out the group on Facebook: Fast Break Buddy Basketball
Sponsors for this event included the following:
Stop and Shop of East Brunswick
University Radiology Group
Arooga's Grille House and Sports Bar
Church and Dwight Employee Giving Fund
East Brunswick Fire District #2
East Brunswick Women's Club
Fit Nation NJ
Let's Work for Good