The fall season is off to a strong start at Special Olympics Southern California. October signaled the beginning of several regional Fall Games competitions.
San Diego County drew hundreds of people to Rancho Bernardo Recreation Center on Oct. 7, including officers and sheriffs from the San Diego Police Department and San Diego Sheriff’s Department. A handful of officers on hand for their first Special Olympics event presented athlete after athlete with their ribbons and medals.
The athletes, from San Diego County and surrounding areas, competed in soccer, softball and tennis. Brett Laza, a Global Messenger from Western San Bernardino, was among the tennis competitors. The sports, however, are secondary to the atmosphere and relationships established throughout the season, he said.
“Most of all, I love meeting new people and making new friends,” Brett said.
Supporters also included San Diego State’s softball and dance teams, as well as radio personality Sean “Sonic” Leckie of Energy 103.7.
Leckie, who was the emcee for Opening Ceremonies, said his involvement with Special Olympics started about five years ago in Atlanta. Among the events that piqued his interest was a bowling fundraiser, “Strike the R-Word,” which raises awareness of the dangers of bullying.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “This is a social environment for them to be confident in their selves.
“You just have to be open-minded when you come across an athlete and treat them like anyone else. Try not to use the R-Word, that’s a big one for me. It gets thrown around a lot. It’s too comfortable for some people and they don’t realize it.”
All roads lead to Special Olympics Southern California’s annual Fall Games in November. But there’s still time to catch a regional event in your area. Bookmark our competitions calendar and support the athletes as one of our Fans in the Stands.
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.