The Moody YMCA Special Olympics basketball team is gearing up to be a player on the court this season.
“I am just blessed to be part of the sport again,” team member Coleman Jones said during free throw practice. “I really do believe that we’re going to have a great season this year. Let’s hope for the best.”
About 16 Special Olympics athletes gathered at the Moody YMCA on Wednesday, Jan. 24. They began the afternoon with conditioning exercises, then moved on to shooting and free throws. The players planned to scrimmage before the end of the evening, Moody’s Special Olympics coordinator Allison Atwood said.
The basketball team is for athletes between the ages of 22 and 99, she explained. They’ll test their skills against other Special Olympics teams at their biggest competition in March, but are already preparing for their first tournament on Feb. 3. They’re also working on a team name, she said. Contenders include “the Mavs” and “the Stars.”
Atwood said she enjoys watching the players’ friendships grow. “So far it’s been great,” she said. “Some of our teammates hadn’t gotten to do activities with each other since high school.”
Basketball is one of several Special Olympics sports offered by the YMCA throughout the year. Other sports include bowling, track, soccer, tennis, and pickleball, which Atwood said isn’t a Special Olympics sport yet, but is one which she expects will join the Special Olympics roster in the future.