Special Olympics Southern California athletes got in one last competition before this weekend’s floor hockey championship.
Eleven teams battled it out in three divisions at the Northern Santa Barbara regional floor hockey competition on Feb. 23 at Santa Maria High School. Gold medal winners included the Santa Barbara Dolphins (red division), Santa Clarita Valley Great Whites (blue) and Santa Clarita Valley Thresher Sharks (yellow).
For the Dolphins’ Abraham Moreno, who has been playing floor hockey since 2012, the “exciting sport” has helped him overcome past behavioral issues and provided a great boost in confidence.
“It’s super fun to shoot, and it’s a very competitive game, as well,” he added.
“It’s also more cheaper, more accessible to play (than ice hockey).”
For teammate Melissa Spellins, a first-year floor hockey participant who used to compete with Special Olympics Arizona, word of mouth among friends in Special Olympics led to her involvement.
“I’ve always been very athletic since a young age so they told me to try it, and to this day I love it,” she said.
“Today was a very tough day, but thanks to our coach who taught us the fundamentals of how to play a good game. You’ve just got to keep your mind focused, remain positive – even if the other team is winning, you don’t give up – and just keep your head up high and keep going.”
Special Olympics Southern California’s floor hockey championship, featuring 16 teams split into four divisions (red, gold, blue and white), will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Kern County Fairgrounds in Bakersfield.
Learn more at: sosc.org/fhc.
Inside the SOSC is a blog managed by staff member Tracy McDannald. Marketing and communications intern Cesar Fernandez contributed to this report. 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.