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Cameron Smith

Washington hosts a "special" high school hoops game

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

It's a game unlike any other. Once a year, two Washington high schools organize a basketball game. Like any number of games in the apple state, the gym is packed, fans bring large, painted signs and cheerleaders celebrate baskets wildly.

The difference between this game and others is all in the athletes involved. Unlike traditional varsity games, all the participants in the annual Rogers (Wash.) High and Sumner (Wash.) High face-off is made up entirely of high school students who usually compete in the Special Olympics.

"They think this is the Super Bowl," Rogers basketball coach Tim Wood told Seattle's KING-5. "It's a great feeling for everyone involved tonight. We get to see these kids and the ultimate joy in sports."

The players do feel like it's the Super Bowl, in part because of everything that goes into the game. As you can see in the video above, there's absolutely no difference between the atmosphere in the Rogers-Sumner game and other huge varsity tilts.

The fans come and cheer like it's a huge game, and for all the athletes involved it is. The matchup concludes a year of hype leading up to the annual face-off, with Special Olympics athletes practicing and preparing for the game for months ahead of time.

It's a game where the final score truly doesn't matter, even if Sumner did technically come out on top of the 2011 edition.

"Kids often think they're going to hand out the programs," the mother of one player told KING-5. "We have to tell them, 'No, tonight you are the program.'"

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