After weeks of training during the school day, more than 250 special education student-athletes from East Contra Costa County got to display their skills at the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program soccer competition at Liberty High School in Brentwood, Calif.
There were even some guests of honor braving the cold on a Friday morning! State Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Contra Costa County Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ovick and Deputy Superintendent Karen Sakata and Special Olympics Northern California President & CEO Rick Collett were all in attendance to cheer on the special education student-athletes!
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Special Olympics Schools Partnership Program,” Assemblymember Jim Frazier said. “These participants are all tremendously ambitious and gifted. Every chance to support, play and interact with the athletes is a true inspiration, and I’m proud to know that the upcoming soccer event will give these high achievers the opportunity to thrive and show off their top-notch skills.”
The Assemblymember even presented Special Olympics Northern California and the Contra Costa County Office of Education with an Assembly Certificates of Recognition:
We have had Special Olympics in Contra Costa County schools for six years and that could not have happened without the utmost support from the Contra Costa County Office of Education! Lots of administrative support from Liberty High School out on the field was fantastic, as well.
We chatted with Dr. Ovick about his office’s involvement with Special Olympics:
We also got the inside scoop on why Special Olympics is so near and dear to Assemblymember Frazier:
In addition to the backing of the Assemblymember, it was wonderful to see so many members of the Liberty High School general education student population out there! A majority of the student body was there – serving as fans in the stands to cheer on the student-athletes or on the field as referees and scorekeepers – and it was so wonderful to see that interaction. The positive energy generated by the general education students without a doubt buoyed the special education student-athletes.
On one field, a student-athlete was in goal as keeper but shots on goal kept getting by him. After a couple of goals allowed, he was obviously upset about his performance. But there were so many people who were encouraging him and cheering him on that it really made a difference.
What happened on that soccer field was such an important lesson for everyone to be a part of and witness for it completely embodied the Special Olympics Athlete Oath:
Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
It’s not just about the athlete, but also the environment. That student-athlete and everyone around him were being brave in the attempt. And the end result was just magic.