The first half of August has been loaded with bowling season competitions, thrilling fundraisers and even some street hoops action featuring Special Olympics Southern California athletes.
Bowling Season Rolls Along
Athletes gathered at Valencia Lanes in Newhall, where there was wall-to-wall competition, comradery, and fun on Aug. 10. The atmosphere in the bowling alley was electric, bustling with volunteers, athletes, family, and friends. Every lane was filled and there was never a dull moment.
With both morning and afternoon sessions, countless athletes participated in the action. Each session was followed by an awards ceremony where medals were handed out for each lane’s results.
Santa Clarita athlete Tamara Morgan, who has been competing since 1999, is in her last season before she moves to Texas with her husband of 28 years. Tamara said she has enjoyed all the friends and coaches she’s met through Special Olympics and will likely join a local program in Texas.
The volunteers all had a great time interacting with the athletes. Among them was UCLA graduate Brianna Wenger, who was volunteering for the first time.
“I really enjoy just being able to help out with the athletes and being able to take part in the event,” said Brianna, whose brother Zachary is an athlete.
Best friends Cesar Loyola and Jose Cruz arrived early to prepare for their competition in the afternoon session. They were full of excitement and, as Cesar said, they were ready to, “Go for Gold!” Cesar is originally from San Jose and Jose is a native New Yorker, but the two live in Santa Clarita now and have become close friends through the program.
The bowling season wraps up Aug. 24 at the Special Olympics Southern California Bowling Championship in Fountain Valley.
Shortly thereafter, the fall season will begin. Whether you’re a volunteer or athlete, contact your local Special Olympics program to find out how to get involved.
Thrill Seekers in OC
Meanwhile, that same day in Garden Grove, more than 30 individuals including athletes, law enforcement representatives, corporate partners, staff members and even the Hyatt Regency Orange County general manager showed no fear and rappelled down the 16-story hotel.
Here’s how it looked:
Basketball Takes Over Streets of L.A.
Downtown Los Angeles and L.A. Live transformed into a giant street basketball playground for two days on Aug. 3 and 4.
More than 5,000 players made up 1,500 teams of four (with one alternate/substitution) at the 11th annual Nike 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Among the 70 divisions were three for Special Olympics athletes.
The three Special Olympics division champions were the Anaheim Panthers, Laguna Hills Hawks One and Team Infinity.
Danny Acevedo, the coach for the Panthers, has a son with cerebral palsy and is in his 10th year as a coach.
“You know one thing about Special Olympics, people forget about sports and stuff, you also coach them in life,” he said. “So, what they learn in basketball and sports, they learn in life. You know about changes, rules. You know that’s how life is.”
He added, with a smile: “I tell people all the time I have 56 kids.”
Inside the SOSC is a blog managed by staff member Tracy McDannald. Communications volunteers Austin Gould and Cesar Fernandez, photographers Latisha Moon and Nichole Brown-Moon, and staff member Chris Jones 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.