Harris' Heroes: BCC bocce ball team gives all athletes a chance to play

(WJLA) - With a quick tap, sophomore Mary Spencer sends a ball down a tube and onto the court. It’s her first year as a player on the Bethesda-Chevy Chase bocce ball team.

"Actually this is my first team I've ever played on, so it means a lot," she says.

The team is a Special Olympics Unified sports team, open to all students.

"It doesn't matter if you're handicapped or not -- you can still play and I love that about the sport," says Mary.

Senior Scott Gerson volunteers as a student coach and manager.

"It's really neat to see people who would normally be written off or be labeled as inferior...You can tell on the bocce court that they really do bring something extra and something special," he says.

Gerson is one of our ‘Summer of Service’ winners, and is putting his $1,000 reward towards helping the team.

"I'm using the money to create a summer bocce league, so students are not just sitting on the couch the rest of the year," he explains.

Coach Steve Sutherland applauds Gerson’s efforts, and says the team is making a big difference at the school:

“Just to accept everyone -- it's funny, because when you watch, you can never pick out the students with the disabilities."

And after a very strong finish last year, the team went to the state championships and ended up winning their bracket.

The BCC Barons are now hoping to continue their success.

"Just play hard and go for the win," says senior Rajesh Cecchini.

And with every play, members are forming new friendships and leaving a lasting impact on the school’s social scene.