FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (Nov. 9) — The 2017 Fall Games, the culminating event for the Special Olympics Southern California fall season, is in two days at Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park. Opening Ceremony is set for 9 am on Saturday, Nov. 11 with more than 900 athletes poised to Reach for the Gold.
Practices and training began in August and regional competitions have taken place all over Southern California throughout the previous months.
“Honestly, the experience as a whole is the most rewarding thing. Seeing the athletes improve day by day not only satisfies you as a coach, but it inspires you as a person,” says South Bay volleyball coach Umberto Gatti. “There is no other feeling like seeing the smiles and cheers of joy when our athletes accomplish something new.” Read more to his story here.
Umberto isn’t the only one who has been pumped at what has taken place this fall season.
The Games will take place on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 11-12 in Fountain Valley. Soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball competitions will take place both days at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park while bowling will take place on Sunday at Fountain Bowl.
Regional competitions have been taking place since September as athletes prepared for Fall Games. It began on Sept. 16 with softball competition in Ventura County and in Whittier for the Southeast Los Angeles area competition. From Kern County to San Diego County the action has been every weekend since, ending with the Los Angeles/San Gabriel Valley Regional Fall Games last Saturday.
At these competitions you can see athletes like Ryan Schubert thrive on the volleyball court, with twin sister Taylor by his side as coach. “It’s awesome. It was something we could both get behind,” Taylor said. “We were already close because we’re twins, in general, but this just got us closer together.”
Ryan, 25, has been an athlete for 18 years. You wouldn’t know it by just watching him on the court now or holding a conversation with him, but he started off a bit shy. That’s where Special Olympics has helped him grow into a more comfortable athlete and person, Taylor said. “I like being part of a team, hanging out with friends and meeting new people,” Ryan added.
Read more on their story, Volleyball Stregthens Twins’ Bond.
Come and witness the passion for sport for yourself this weekend at the Fall Games. There is something for everyone at the Games. Fans are encouraged to take advantage of the Fans Experience and sign-up for Fans in the Stands. For a full schedule of events at Fall Games, click here.
One area not to be missed during Fall Games is the Healthy Athletes Village. Offering FREE health screenings, Healthy Athletes has provided a vital service to athletes and their families. Just ask San Diego County coach Jacque Martin. She has seen firsthand, both as a coach and mother to athlete and Global Messenger Heidi Sand.
“I’ve had athletes where things have been detected and they’ve been forwarded to another doctor,” said Jacque, a coach for 13 years. “So, I think it’s really important.” Read more on Healthy Athletes through the eyes of Jacque and Heidi in the article A Vital Service.
For more on Fall Games visit SOSC.org/FallGames.