Inclusive sports program gives outlet to locals like Kristian Joliat - part one

Inclusive sports gives outlet to locals like Joliat - part one
Inclusive sports gives outlet to locals like Joliat - part one
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 11:09 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Sports have a way of unifying people. Over the next two nights we will showcase the growth of inclusivity through a new program in central Maine. In part one, we introduce one local who is growing with the new program. His name is Kristian Joliat...

“The team is a family by the way,” says unified athlete and UMaine honorary coach Kristian Joliat, “the hockey team and the basketball team is my family and i like that.”

“When I got to Maine, I remember the first time that I met Kristian,” says UMaine head men’s basketball coach Richard Barron, “and he came to women’s basketball camp and told me he was a counselor. That was my first introduction to him. He knew everything that was going on, so I trusted him, and that relationship has really blossomed since then.”

“When I first came to the United States, my first summer at UMaine, I was here by myself and nobody else from the basketball team was here,” says former UMaine men’s basketball player Ilija Stojiljkovic, “I was working summer camp with the hockey team and the first person I met was kristian and his family.”

“He comes around camp every year and helps out,” says UMaine associate head men’s hockey coach Ben Guite, “whenever we have a big win at Alfond, he is there after the games, singing the stein song with us. And he’s the one who’s singing the loudest.”

Countless others have experienced Kristian at UMaine athletic events. As important as it is to him...

“Good social skills activity,” says Kristian.

He is to UMaine’s programs.

“His role as the honorary assistant coach on our team,” says Barron, “He gives great pep talks, he’s a constant reminder of how to have the right attitude about things.”

“Me being from Europe, my family was never able to come to the games,” says Ilija, “So it was great to have somebody like Kristian, and his family, to leave tickets for. You know hang out with after the game, or before the game. So Kristian overall, for me personally, has been such a positive influence.”

So when he found out about the Masonic Unified Champion Club, he was all in.

“Overall i like all of them,” says Kristian, “I like hockey, basketball, softball, and bocce.”

When Kristian was challenged to shoot foul shots to help fundraise for the program..

“I learned three point shots, free throws,” says Joliat, “the best tip, the box, the white box.”

the honorary coach had some great help.

“Kristian asked me to be his partner and obviously I had to say yes,” says Ilija, “you know you don’t miss out on opportunities to hang out with Kristian.”

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