Athletes Prepare for Summer Games
Meet three of the nearly 600 athletes who will compete in the 2017 Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games! If you know an athlete who would like to be featured, please contact Liza Reed.
Josh is a 29 year old athlete with the Special Olympics Vermont Chittenden program who competes in alpine skiing, soccer, softball, and basketball. While skiing is his favorite sport, Josh will be competing in basketball at the 2017 Summer Games.
"It's great exercise. I learn and get better each time," says Josh who practices with his team once a week at the Williston Central School. His team has been working hard on their zone defense and while Josh will play any position he's assigned to, he uses his height and plays near the basket to assist his teammates or get a basket. "Our coach Tammy has us run drills and all that and keeps us fit and make sure we stretch."
"The best part of Special Olympics is being with peers and friends. I've Made some good friends. I even met my roommate through Special Olympics."
While winning medals is fun, for Josh, the most important part of training for the Games is working together as a team and having fun training in various sports.
Susan Mandell has been a Special Olympics Vermont athlete since 2005. Her primary sport is basketball but she has also competed in bowling. For Susan, the best thing about Special Olympics is "playing with other athletes. I've made some really good friends like my teammate Katharine who asked for my phone number at our first practice!"
In her role as captain, Susan gets the other players running and makes sure they are doing the drills correctly. "On game day I tell everyone to hustle hustle hustle."
The 2017 Summer Games will be the first time Susan and her team have participated in a two-day tournament. "We’ve never done that before," she says. "I'm excited because it's something new to me." She's also excited to get to know people from different teams and different parts of the state. "Special Olympics give you a sense of community."
When asked why people should come out to Summer Games, Susan responded that it's important for "people know about and maybe join Special Olympics. They should try it and they will like it."
Evan Cross, 31, has been playing basketball in Windham County for nine years. Leading up to the 2017 Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games, he and his teammates have been working hard every Wednesday night on their dribbling, shooting and passing skills. "I like playing basketball so practice isn't hard," says Evan. "It's a good community and it's fun. I like being with my friends and hanging out. It's definitely something I look forward to in the week."
About the 2017 Summer Games, Evan is excited about the two-day tournament opportunity. "Being in a college dorm will be fun! I'm looking forward to playing games to days in a row."
"Special Olympics is good sports, we like it so much," says Evan. "It's important to remember that when you lose a game it’s all about having fun and trying your best.
When not playing basketball, Evan can be found at his local Co-Op where he's worked for ten years, and likes to go bowling for fun.