What They’re Saying at 2019 Summer Games – Day 2

Special Olympics Southern California’s athletes, coaches and volunteers brought the same enthusiasm to Day 2 of the 50th annual Summer Games on Sunday at Cal State Long Beach.

Medals were won, high-fives were exchanged and lifelong memories were created. Here’s what a few of the attendees had to say:

Vanessa Barnes

San Gabriel Valley athlete and basketball coach Vanessa Barnes

“It’s like a family to me. I feel comfortable here. I feel like I can be myself, and I love being with my friends and my team.”

Vanessa Barnes, a San Gabriel Valley basketball athlete who transitioned into coaching

“I had to change my life so I got involved. It’s helped out a lot. I’ve got something to do instead of sitting at home and watching TV. I have something to look forward to.”

Jered Naccarato, basketball athlete who credits Special Olympics for a better quality of life

“I like Special Olympics, I like to participate.”

-Lorna Murakami, track and field athlete for Long Beach, who earned three medals including a gold during the weekend

“Everybody, to a person, who volunteers… they feel like they get more than they give (out of volunteering). If I’ve learned anything in all the years I’ve coached, it’s patience.

“I wouldn’t still be doing it if it wasn’t as much fun and rewarding now, as it was back in 1988 when I started.”

Ava Carberry, Westside coach who’s been involved for 31 years

“It helps me focus, concentrate and learn about [sportsmanship]. Now, I get over [the results] and know there’s always next time.”

De’Mondre Monroe, track and field athlete for Santa Clarita, on the lessons he’s learned over the years through Special Olympics

“I got a 30-second embrace (from an athlete) and it was quite an awesome experience. One of the competitors I gave a medal to gave me a nice, long embrace.”

Officer Wes Haver, California Highway Patrol – West Valley

“The best thing [about coaching] is the athletes and their enthusiasm, and how they treat each other.”

Karen Farberow, Long Beach swim coach

“I like how [the sport] has a lot of energy.”

Tanner Wolfe on what he likes about playing basketball

“I’ve made friends with one little lady, Annie, and she’s got my heart. She saw me today, ran up to me, took my hand. ‘Let’s go, Janet, we’re going to go dance!’ There’s so much enthusiasm out of her. She’s kind of shy and reserved; but here, today, she’s really ready to go.”

Janet Vinokur of the Footstompers Square Dance Club, a handi-capable group from Covina that performed

Jeremiah bocce athlete

Bocce athlete Jeremiah Foss

“It’s given him more of a purpose. This give him friendships outside of work. He didn’t really have activities outside of work. … It’s really helped him be able to communicate, and seeing him come alive and be more of who he is. It’s been exciting.”

Kathy Foss, mother of first-year bocce athlete Jeremiah Foss of Bakersfield

“Seeing them grow together as a team, supporting each other … and understanding that concept of how to be a team. There’s no quit in them. They always keep going.”

Kenny Flores, coach for the Vista (San Diego County) Falcons basketball team, involved for 10 years

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