For Long Beach athletes Arlan Hood and Joshua Woodall, there are multiple benefits to being part of Special Olympics Southern California.
The most obvious perk is competition. Joshua, 24, has been an athlete for the past seven years. The pure joy of sports and sense of belonging are all he wants. This fall, he will be playing softball.
“It’s fun, I love it,” he said. “It teaches me about sports and it helps to keep me out of trouble.”
Arlan, 20, has been involved since high school. After primarily competing in basketball and track and field, he will give softball a shot alongside Joshua.
But the sense of community and “family,” with both his fellow athletes and the supporters, are what Arlan enjoys above all. Regardless of the result, there is no failure if you “do your best,” he said. Special Olympics Southern California has helped stress those values.
“You can’t give up,” Arlan added.
“If someone’s [feeling] down, we’ve got to help them back up. We can’t just forget about them. Help that person up.”
Those are just some of the benefits of Special Olympics Southern California, which also gives athletes the mental boost in self-esteem and physical gains through programs and services like Healthy Athletes and Team Wellness.
Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of more than 30,700 athletes with intellectual disabilities. Join the growing number and become an athlete in your region.
Inside the SOSC is a blog written by staff member Tracy McDannald. It is a more feature-style approach to looking inside what makes Special Olympics Southern California so unique, so special. It is meant to explore the people and their stories. One word at a time.