Another Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games in the books, and the two-day event created many memories that will last a lifetime.
Here’s what athletes, coaches, volunteers and various others had to say Sunday at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park:
“A great two-day experience. In watching the athletes, I’m seeing a lot of dignity, a lot of joy, a lot of courage.”
–Bill Shumard, Special Olympics Southern California President and CEO
“It was so fun to play. I have friends that motivate me to play even harder and stronger. So I love the motivation that people give me.
“[Special Olympics] has changed my life so much. I’ve met new people and new coaches.”
–Athena Leontsinis, South Bay volleyball player
“What I like about it is it’s a really competitive sport.”
–Levi Varner, Inland Empire Green Mojaves soccer player
“The inspirations are the athletes, the way they compete. But also the sportsmanship, the love not only to us in law enforcement, but everybody.
“These kids, adults are very serious about the competition, but all in all it’s just an environment where everybody has a very good time. I love coming here. I’ve been [involved] for more than 20 years now and I enjoy it.
“I have a lot of friends who are Special Olympics athletes, they recognize me from the events.”
–Steve Moran, Reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who added that Special Olympics “grows on you.”
“I just want to say thank you all for coming out here and watching our soccer game. I really appreciate it.”
–Corinne LaShay Green, Inland Empire Green Mojaves soccer player
“My first teaching job was with special needs kids in adaptive P.E. So an avenue for them to participate outside of school was with Special Olympics.”
–Keith Brigman, Santa Ana tennis coach who started in 1975 and has coached multiple sports
“It’s always fun seeing them out there and playing hard. They’re always very happy, which makes me happy.”
–Carly Matera, San Luis Obispo soccer coach for seven years
“[Special Olympics] has given me more confidence about being who I am. I used to struggle going through school, didn’t feel like I was accepted. But with Special Olympics, you can be yourself.”
–Paul Hoffman, Orange County tennis player
“At first, I thought soccer was just super serious. I’ve learned that [sports] is all about having fun and meeting new people. Just relax and have fun.”
–Logan Jones, LAFC soccer player
“Someone inspired me. There was an athlete raising money so I decided to donate. That’s how I decided to get more directly involved. I’ve always believed Special Olympics athletes are really incredible people. I’m not as athletic as them and they impress me everyday.”
–Tiffany Jaksic, San Luis Obispo tennis volunteer