In less than a month, athletes through Southern California will convene in Fountain Valley for the annual Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games championship event.
Until then, the athletes have been honing their skills in regional competitions. Four events took place this past weekend and WeAreSOSC.org was in attendance at competitions in Perris and South Gate.
2019 Central Division Fall Games
Alice Dougall had a double dose of pride at the Central Division Fall Games last Saturday at South Gate Park.
Her son, Jason, was among the more than 400 athletes and Unified partners in attendance, competing for medals and ribbons in golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
Jason, a volleyball player in the fall and a track athlete in the spring for South Bay, also recited the athlete oath prior to the competition.
She credits Special Olympics with helping change Jason’s life “tremendously,” giving him a greater sense of motivation, strength and courage, among the many positives.
“He always wants to do more,” Alice said. “He enjoys it so much that there’s nothing he would put before his sports. As his mother, I make an effort to be there for him in every way I can.”
Jason, 40, enjoys the teamwork Special Olympics helps promote.
“(I like) interacting with other teammates and working with them,” he added.
Jason and his teammates finished the day with a silver medal.
2019 Inland Empire Fall Games
Big League Dreams-Perris hosted the 2019 Inland Empire Fall Games on October 19, 2019. Special Olympics Southern California athletes from the region competed in soccer and softball competitions throughout the day, as athletes aimed to take home the gold.
Though the day was full of tough competition, athletes still found time to have fun.
SOSC athlete from the Fontana Lions had a group of fans cheering her along as she performed the macarena. Her dance moves had the staff, volunteers and other athletes cheering and dancing right along with her.
The Temecula Valley Outlaws took home first place in the Belgium Soccer Division, Green Mojaves 1 earned first place in the France Soccer Division and T.E.A.M. Blue Titans placed first in the Portugal Division.
In Softball, the Poway Padres scored their way to first place in the AL-Central Division, Ventura Rebels defense lead the way to first place in the AL-East Division, Conejo Crushers earned first place in the AL-West and Central Riverside 2 placed first in the NL-Central Division.
All teams expressed grit, growth and fun during the Games.
Inside the SOSC is a blog managed by staff member Tracy McDannald. SOSC 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.