Published February 26, 2019
Volume 3, Number 2

Amador Valley Boosters Host Special Olympics

Events in March, May

By Hacienda Pulse Staff Writer
For the 16th year running, the Amador Valley Athletic Boosters are sponsoring Special Olympics events this year at Amador Valley High in Pleasanton. The East Bay Regional Basketball Tournament Special Olympics will be held in March and the Track and Volleyball Tournaments in May. The East Bay Regional Basketball Tournament Special Olympics is a one-day event for an estimated 50 teams that will compete at Amador Valley High School, Harvest Park School, and Pleasanton Middle School on 11 courts.

“What was surprising to me, as someone not involved with special needs folks in the past, was how many special needs people there are and how many families are affected,” says Ken Mano, Special Olympics Coordinator for the Boosters. “When these events are held, there are hundreds of participants.”

Among the participants in the basketball tournament will be members of the Tri-Valley Rockets, a Pleasanton Special Olympics basketball team that was started several years ago for local special needs kids. The team has won several gold medals over the years.

“The small kids who started with them are now grown, but still playing,” notes Mano. “Special Olympics gives these athletes the opportunity to get out of the house, socialize, have physical activity, excel and receive awards, which gives them confidence and enthusiasm for life.”

One Tri-Valley mother was not sure what to expect when signing up her daughter for the Tri-Valley Special Olympics track team in 2017 but she and her daughter had a wonderful experience. “From the first practice, the coaches were enthusiastic, patient, and cheerful,” according to Cynthia J. Patton. “They worked hard to teach children and young adults of varying abilities (and disabilities) how to improve their track and field skills. I was impressed again and again with their dedication and commitment.”

The National Charity League, Boys Team Charity, Young Men's Service League, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among the local organizations that provide volunteers. Even so, the Boosters are seeking additional volunteers, as an estimated 450 are needed for the basketball event and an estimated 400 are needed for the track and volleyball event.

The Amador Valley Athletic Boosters strives to provide financial support for the athletic programs, assure athletic participation is available to all students, fund and sponsor scholarships for graduating Amador Valley High School athletes, contribute to the spirit of the high school, and lend support as needed in support of athletic programs. The group welcomes new members as well as donations to help support its sponsorship of these regional Special Olympics events.

The East Bay Regional Basketball Tournament Special Olympics will be held at Amador Valley High School and two other schools on Saturday, March 9, 2019, from 8 am to 4 pm. The Track and Field and Volleyball Regional Competition Special Olympics will be held at Amador Valley High School on Saturday, May 11, from 8 am to 4 pm.

To volunteer or for more information about the upcoming East Bay Regional Basketball Tournament Special Olympics and the Track and Volleyball Tournaments, please visit https://www.av-specialolympics.org. For more information about Special Olympics Northern California, including registration as an athlete, please visit https://www.sonc.org. For more information about the Amador Valley Athletic Boosters, please visit http://www.amadorsports.com.