The Saint Mary's College men's and women's basketball teams hosted a clinic for the athletes of Special Olympics in McKeon Pavilion last month. The clinic was sponsored by Common Interest Management, and proved to be a memorable experience for all involved.
"This was something we all took great pride in participating in," said Kate Gaze, a sophomore on the Saint Mary's women's basketball team. "Being able to work with the athletes was amazing, and seeing the huge smiles on their faces the whole day was really satisfying."
"It was an incredible opportunity for our players to work with the Special Olympics athletes," said Saint Mary's Head Women's Basketball Coach Paul Thomas. "We had a great time and look forward to doing it again next year."
The clinic drew approximately 75 Special Olympics athletes from around the Bay Area. Skills taught at the clinic ranged from passing, rebounding, shooting drills to dribble relays. All athletes in attendance received an event t-shirt and complimentary ticket to a men's and women's basketball game in November.
"We were honored to have the opportunity to host this clinic," said Saint Mary's men's basketball coach Randy Bennett. "It's important to us to give back to this community because it's been so great to us-and it couldn't be with a better organization."
The clinic was a success for all involved, promoting inclusion, acceptance and most importantly, the celebration of sport. And for some, it was even a learning experience.
During the clinic, Kenton Walker, a junior on the Saint Mary's men's team, spent time with an athlete who was blind. But Walker soon found out he didn't let his lack of vision interfere with much of anything.
"The experience, although challenging, made me grateful for my sight and athletic ability," said Walker. "I'm glad that I had the chance to hang out with him, and I learned a lot about myself and others through this experience."