RallyCap Sports organizes activities for children with disabilities

Former RallyCap President Nikki Huber (left) and current RallyCap President Alex Choi (right) at the Ohio Student Union. Credit: Paris Johnson Jr | Lantern Reporter

Every Sunday, Nikki Huber and Alex Choi play sports with children with disabilities, forming friendships along the way.

RallyCap Sports is a student organization that organizes sporting events for children with disabilities. The Ohio State Chapter offers sports such as basketball, football and baseball, creating a rewarding experience for attendees and volunteers.

“I found RallyCap gave me the perfect opportunity to have one-on-one interactions with the kids and really grow the relationship in a matter of weeks,” said Huber, a fourth-year health science major and former president of RallyCap. . “Seeing how excited they are to be with us has been one of the most special parts of being part of RallyCap.”

Huber said his biggest role model and inspiration for joining RallyCap is his younger sister, who has Down syndrome.

RallyCap member Noah Mertz said he was involved in nearly every event the group put on, whether it was dancing, basketball or football. Mertz, who has autism, is a social butterfly who enjoys being around people and participating in activities with others, said Joe Mertz and Shannon Mertz, his parents.

Joe Mertz said his son loves being part of a team and having fun with his friends and the RallyCap executives.

“Just that hour or that hour and a half where we can escape and let him be on the team and have fun and run and exercise,” Joe Mertz said.

Huber said her mood improves every time she volunteers for RallyCap.

“I would say it’s probably one of the most rewarding things about coming to an event on Sunday after a week of stress and homework,” Huber said.

Choi, a third-year finance student and current president of RallyCap, said he was first inspired to help children with disabilities in high school when he worked with a Special Olympics basketball team. He said seeing the players succeed was rewarding.

“Being able to play alongside them was something special for me, where it wasn’t just about watching them, but helping them achieve their goals, so when I came to Ohio State, that was something. thing I was looking for,” Choi said.

When the pandemic forced the club’s activities online for a year, Choi said the organization was challenged because its success relies on personal interactions and the moments participants share together.

RallyCap has since resumed planning for in-person events, including an upcoming opportunity for kids to play basketball on Sunday.

Choi said it meant a lot to him to see the kids having fun.

“It’s kind of hard not to smile when you’re around the kids,” Choi said. “No matter how bad your week has been, you can still rise during this one.”

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