Round Rock Special Olympics

“Let me win.  But if I cannot win, then let me be brave in the attempt.”
~ Athlete’s Oath ~

A message from Suzanne:

This post is long overdue. For months I have been meaning to tell you about Kinsey’s participation in Special Olympics. So while the above picture shows Kinsey playing basketball, I will also be telling you about her participation in bowling, basketball, cycling, and track and field.

Amazing, life-affirming, fun, and inspiring are just some of the accolades that describe Special Olympics. When you combine all that with the great community spirit it engenders, we (Kent, Kinsey and I) are so grateful to be a part of this amazing organization.

Without a doubt, the success of the Round Rock Roadrunners can be credited to the Round Rock School District, particularly to Jan Sartain. In addition to serving as the Lead Teacher for Adaptive Physical Education, Jan is also the Head of Delegation, RRISD Special Olympics. Her kindness and compassion toward the athletes knows no bounds, and she is also a great coach and motivator for the students.
And if that isn’t enough, she keeps track of student registration, medical and photo releases, and keeps the parents informed about practice schedules, tournaments, and the end of the year banquet, and probably a million other nagging details. (And yes, I believe she really does keep that smile on her face all the time.)

She, along with all of the other wonderful adaptive PE teachers (and parent and student volunteers) work tirelessly throughout the year to support Round Rock Special Olympians. Honestly, I don’t think there are enough superlative’s in the dictionary to express how grateful I am to these individuals.

One of the things that I really admire about the school district is their commitment to the athletes. Parents pay a nominal fee for their students to participate and their kid receives this cool Round Rock Roadrunners t-shirt.

They also get an embroidered windbreaker, warmup pants, and sports bag to use throughout the season. At the end of the year the student turns it back into the district. These kids are athletes, and the school district recognizes that they need to be decked out in stylish uniforms just like any other student. Pretty cool huh?

Another commendable aspect to Round Rock SO, is how typical students are encouraged to participate.

Students (called partners) volunteer their time (about a 20-hour commitment) and bowl side-by-side with the SO athletes. This helps keep the athletes focused and on-task, and give the partners the opportunity to meet/interact/befriend special education students from all five comprehensive high schools in Round Rock. With great frequency I found myself wiping tears from my eyes during practice while watching the students bowling, talking, and just kidding around with each other.  It was a wonderful treat to see Kinsey interacting with her peers, something she does not typically do. (At least outside the home.)

You can always count on Dylan to have a great big smile on his face! 
Coach Pratz, Kinsey’s Adaptive PE teacher (and SO Coach) giving Kinsey some advice about bowling 
Brooke and one of the Round Rock student partners

While I cannot speak for all parents who have a child with special needs, in our family peer interaction has not readily occurred. Seeing her with typical students and those with disabilities was truly heartwarming. Here is Kinsey with her teammates. Left to right Anna, Dylan, Brooke, and Kinsey!

These are the Round Rock High athletes and the RRHS Parters who helped during the season!

I’m not sure why Kinsey looks so grumpy in this picture.  She usually has the biggest smile on her face!

Kinsey participated in her first SO Bowling Tournament in November, and her team came in 2nd place.
On February 26th she will participate in a 3 on 3 half-court basketball tournament at San Marcos State.

During the spring, Kinsey will be competing in Cycling (and can use her 3-wheel adult tricycle) and Track and Field. She has already gone to three cycling practices (pictures as soon as I take some!) and will start track and field next week.

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