Cornhole comes to Decatur

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Mr. Hall coaching a student during a Thursday practice.

Rowan Wilkins , Staff Writer

This fall, Stephen Decatur High School adds a new name to their list of fall sports: Unified Cornhole.

Cornhole is a popular sport along the East Coast and through the Midwest, in which two or more players take turns throwing 16-ounce bags, filled with corn kernels at a raised wooden board. Players can score one point by landing the bag on the board or three points if the bag lands in the hole. It can be played one against another or in two teams of two.

Coach Keith Hall has been having interest meetings throughout the month of September. Mr. Hall is in charge of running all Unified Sports at SDHS, as well has being a secretary for the school Guidance office.

“I’ve been doing Unified Sports for eight years,” he said. “I started out with Bocce [ball].”

Cornhole is a Unified Sport at SDHS, meaning it is a team made up of an equal number of students with and without disabilities. This program was created in 2008 after the Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities Law was passed, according to the Special Olympics website.

Special Olympics created Unified Sports based off a principle of “training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding,” according to the Special Olympics website. This program encourages inclusion and acceptance.

At the moment, the cornhole team has nine members. Mr. Hall has seen students improve their skills and increase their interest in the sport at the same time.

“They’re getting more into it, especially as they get a little more skill,” said Mr. Hall. “It’s no fun if you can’t hit the board. Once you can start scoring, then it’s a game.”

Students on the team seem to be enjoying their time. Ashley Abu-Zaid is a member for the 2021 fall season. Abu-Zaid was a member of the Unified Bocce Ball team and the Decatur bowling team before joining cornhole.

“I joined the team because I just really like cornhole,” said Abu-Zaid prior to a Thursday practice.

Despite not having played any games against competing teams yet in their season, Abu-Zaid has expressed that she is excited for the future of the team. During her time on the Unified Bocce Ball team, she competed against other school’s alongside her teammates, as she wants to do with cornhole.

Once the cornhole team at SDHS gets off the ground, the team plans to compete against other Worcester County schools, such as Pocomoke High School.

“It’s a fun game,” said Abu-Zaid when referring back to cornhole. She agreed that she’d like to stay with the team and join again next season.

There were a few factors that led to Decatur starting its cornhole team.

“We started cornhole two years ago, when everything went under,” said Mr. Hall. “We switched from Unified Tennis to cornhole. So, with Covid, we haven’t had a good season yet.”

The switch from tennis to cornhole comes from other schools in Worcester county getting rid of their Unified Tennis teams. James M. Bennett High School will be the only high school left in the area that is somewhat near by with a Unified Tennis team, according to Mr. Hall.

“Cornhole boards are portable, so we can do it outside, inside, anywhere. We don’t have to worry about rain,” Mr. Hall said.

And, best of all, cornhole truly can be played anywhere. The team typically can be found practicing in the hallways of SDHS on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Visit Mr. Hall in the guidance office with any questions about joining the cornhole team.