LAKEWOOD — It’s not very often you see a Columbine football player getting a hug from a Chatfield student on the gridiron.
However, that was the case last week when Columbine and Arvada football players volunteered as coaches and referees for the Jeffco Public Schools’ Adapted Athletics Flag Football Day on Oct. 18 at Trailblazer Stadium.
It was the second year Columbine football coach Andy Lowry, who has coached the Rebels to five state titles, had players help run the event.
“It was great,” Lowry said of the Rebels’ first experience last year volunteering at the Adapted Athletic Flag Football Day. “It was one of the better things we’ve done with our kids over the years. It will be nice to make this an annual deal for our kids.”
Columbine players acted as offensive and defensive coordinators, along with referees on all five fields at Trailblazer Stadium. Arvada players ran the games played inside Creighton Middle School for non-ambulatory students.
“We want to help give these kids joy and have fun,” Columbine junior Jacob Gimbel said. “We get to have fun on the football field ourselves and we want to be able to give them that feeling too.”
Flag Football Day has quickly turned into one of the more popular Adapted Athletic events. A total of 19 high and middle schools with 25 teams participated in this year’s event.
“It’s such a great day. Bryan (Wickoren) does a tremendous job with all these activities and sports,” Lowry said. “I give so much credit to him for his heart to take on giving these opportunities for kids.”
Bryan Wickoren, Adapted Athletic Coordinator, was just named the Society of Health and Physical Educators’ Adapted Physical Education Teacher of the Year. Wickoren said there is benefit from both sides when higher-end athletes comes out to work with student-athletes of higher needs.
“It’s the tipping point when you have schools who want to step up and volunteer,” said Wickoren, who have had several Jeffco sports teams step up to help run the monthly events. “That’s cool when you get to that point where schools hear about what is going on and they want their athletes to be apart of this.”
By the smiles on the faces of coaches, referees and players the success last week at Trailblazer Stadium were on all sides.
“They are just like us,” Columbine starting quarterback Logan DeArment said. “They are having fun. We are having fun. It’s a great day.”
Remaining Jeffco Adapted Athletics Schedule
Nov. 17: Bowling Day at various bowling alleys
Dec. 8: Volleyball Day at Gold Crown Field House
Jan. 18: Colorado HS Adapted Basketball Invite at Gold Crown Field House
Jan. 19: Basketball Day at Gold Crown Field House
Feb. 13: Hockey Day (south schools) at Bear Creek HS
Feb. 15: Hockey Day (north schools) at Alameda HS
March 19: Basketball Day 2 (south schools) at Chatfield HS
March 20: Basketball Day 2 (north schools) at Arvada West HS
April 17: Softball Day (middle schools) at Gold Crown Field House
April 18: Softball Day (high schools) at Gold Crown Field House
May 4: Track & Field Day at Jeffco Stadium
May 9: Tournament of Champions (elementary schools) Gold Crown Field House