The faces of Special Olympics

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The faces of Special Olympics

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With their first soccer practices being completed this week, Special Olympics has officially begun their year. The soccer season will run through November. Following, athletes will take part in basketball, swimming, track, and bowling.

This year, Special Olympics is looking for new volunteers, a position open to all students willing to contribute time and assistance to the program. With traditional teams composed entirely of athletes with special needs, volunteers serve as helpers and supporters during games and practices. “Volunteers have enormous importance,” senior volunteer Katrin Gatz said. “They set the tone for the whole year, and the athletes feed off of their attitudes and how they’re acting in the program.”

Beyond that, in “unified” programs, such as unified basketball, a team is composed of both athletes with special needs and volunteers who serve as unified peers. In these sports, volunteers are even more essential as they form part of the team’s roster.

Volunteers and athletes alike often find that joining Special Olympics enables them to become part of a community that values inclusion and friendship while also promoting the spirit of athletics. “It’s a relaxed and inviting environment that encourages friendship, and it’s just so much fun,” senior volunteer Audrey Earley said. “Special Olympics has a place for everyone.”

To get a better perspective on the Special Olympics program, let’s meet some of the athletes.

Taiyana Bryant

 

 

Taiyana Bryant, Junior

What sports do you play?

Basketball, swimming, and bowling.

What is your favorite sport to play in Special Olympics?

I like to play basketball a lot.

Emily DeAngelo

 

 

Emily DeAngelo, Senior

What sports do you play?

Basketball, swimming, track and field, and bowling.

What will you miss the most about Special Olympics at Metea?

I’m gonna miss basketball because I have all my friends with me on my basketball team and I have fun with them.

 

Xavier Jimenez

 

Xavier Jimenez, Senior

What sports do you play?

Basketball and soccer.

What will you miss the most about Special Olympics at Metea?

Enjoying a different experience to play with other people.

 

Tom McCabe

Tom McCabe, Junior

What sports do you play?

Basketball.

What is your favorite part of Special Olympics?

Just playing with my friends and having opportunities to meet new people.

 

 

Emiliano Perez

Emiliano Perez, Junior

What sports do you play?

Basketball and soccer.

What are you most excited for in Special Olympics this year?

Seeing if we can go to state this year for basketball.

 

 

 

If you are interested in joining Special Olympics, you can reach out to Coach Kim Pehlke, or visit http://meteavalleyspecialolympics.weebly.com/.