VASJ coach Babe Kwasniak is a very competitive person and losses don’t usually sit well with the man who has led his alma mater to three state titles since 2013.
However, Kwasniak was all smiles after the Vikings lost a heartbreaker to the Broadmoor Bobcats on Feb. 8.
The trip to Broadmoor was about much more than basketball and Kwasniak said the team and his staff got more out of the experience than he could have hoped for.
“It was incredible and I was very proud of our guys and how they handled themselves and represented our school,” Kwasniak said. “Going to Broadmoor and playing those kids in their gym is a life lesson they will never forget. It’s the biggest game of the year for us.”
Broadmoor is a school for developmentally challenged individuals in Mentor. The Bobcats are the school’s basketball team coached by Ann Vespa.
VASJ is one of several area teams that travel to Broadmoor in the winter to play the Bobcats. Many jerseys of the losing teams hang on the wall.
Aside from the basketball game, the Vikings took in the experience of visiting classrooms and meeting with Broadmoor students.
Vespa was overwhelmed by the way the VASJ players interacted with the Bobcats.
“I have never had so much fun with a high school group in all my years,” Vespa said.
“They were so fun, so creative, so respectful in their approach to dealing with my students and we’re so respectful to the staff. It was the best team we have played in my 20 years. Not one of the students used their phone, but all interacted with my students no matter how severe the disability. VASJ is an amazing group of young men and coaches and we can’t wait to play them again.”
Kwasniak will also participate in the Coaches vs. Bobcats game on March 26 at Mentor High.