HIGH POINT, N.C. — It’s competitive, challenging and fun. Once a week, Coach Ricky Bednarek leads his team in practice at Cedrow Park in High Point.
“I absolutely love coming here on a Tuesday after work,” said Coach Bednarek. “Everything goes away and we`re just here to have fun.”
The softball team is made up of Special Olympics athletes. Some of the players are relatively new to the game of softball, but others have been playing for a long time.
“It really impacted me ever since I was a kid,” said Samuel Mcallister,
Mcallister is one of nearly 40,000 athletes who participates in Special Olympics in North Carolina. He’s been competing for 29 years.
“I come out and warm up, stretch my legs and arms,” Mcallister said. “Just don`t stop, don`t quit until you get to the games.”
The athletes are getting ready to represent High Point in the Summer Games in Raleigh, the largest state level competition.
The High Point Community Foundation is helping make sure every athlete who earns a spot at The Summer Games can attend.
“Community support is really important,” said Lauren Bruce, community resource director with SONC. “No athlete ever pays, none of their family members are ever asked to pay for Special Olympics programming which is really unique.”
It’s an exciting time for everyone on the field as well as their many fans.
“Watching them and the other athletes who compete individually, it`s a touching thing,” said Stephanie Hedgecock, Local Coordinator for SONC. “I’ve never gotten more out of anything than I have Special Olympics.”
The Summer Games are May 31 to June 2. 1,900 athletes from all over the state will compete.