What They’re Saying at the 2017 Fall Games – Day 2

Every Fall Games competition brings together a wide array of athletes, coaches and volunteers. Here’s what some of them had to say Sunday during the second day of competition at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park, and Fountain Bowl:

“I’ve worked with kids, anything from Down syndrome to autism… working with special education has been my life’s work. They’re just like everybody else. They’re people, and you’ve got to help people.”

Bob Wallace, volunteer lane monitor at the bowling venue, who is a first-time Special Olympics volunteer but has taught special education for 30 years in the San Fernando Valley

Krystal Johnson and Brett Laza

Krystal Johnson, left, and Brett Laza of Inland Empire tennis

“(Special Olympics has) taught me to stay active, stay healthy, and stretch and drink lots of water.”

Krystal Johnson, 29, who plays doubles tennis with partner and fellow 2018 USA Games selection Brett Laza

“Most rewarding aspect is seeing the joy the participants have. (As a coach you’re) trying to find out what each athlete is good at and what motivates them, then helping them excel at that.”

Jackie Hartmann, bowling coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Sharks for 20 years who also has a daughter, Keri, who competes

“It was fun today bowling. It’s exciting to compete with other people. My old teacher got me involved with Special Olympics. She told me, ‘You’ll love it.’ I’ve met a bunch of people since getting involved. Now, I’m (social) with people. … It’s changed me so much and built more self-esteem.”

Nicole Nelson, bowler and long-time athlete from Anaheim

Jose Rodriguez Healthy Athletes

Jose Rodriguez, Healthy Hearing clinician

“The screenings are pretty beneficial to the athletes. We’re just making sure they’re in tip-top shape for whatever event they’re participating in, and for their day-to-day lives.”

Advice to volunteers? “Do it. You won’t regret it. If you’re curious about it, ask someone who has volunteered before… or, just Google it.”

Jose Rodriguez, 26, Healthy Hearing clinician from Los Angeles

“I just love the hugs, I love being here. I love seeing my pictures, which is always fun. When (an athlete) comes up and throws themselves at me and gives me a great, big hug that is just the best feeling in the world.”

Valerie Quintana, photographer who has volunteered with Special Olympics for 17 years

Arturo Rodriguez Guitron

Arturo Rodriguez Guitron

“(Special Olympics is) like a family. (It teaches me) to work together, work as a team.”

Arturo Rodriguez Guitron, 29, second-year softball and soccer athlete who plays for the Antelope Valley Storm

“Almost our whole team are very little guys. They are really young – 8, 9, 10 years old. When we first started it, some of them were not even able to throw the ball. But now, to have them here (competing at Fall Games), and every year they are getting better and stronger and more confident. It is just really cool.”

Chase Pittock, bowling coach for South Bay’s This is How We Roll team

“It changes my perspective by showing me that there are lot of people who are not as fortunate as others. It feels good to help them and make them feel good.”

Bobby Santos, second-time volunteer handing out bowling medals

  1. […] For more thoughts from athletes, coaches and volunteers, catch up on what they were saying on Day 2 at Fall Games. […]


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