24, Gaithersburg, Md., Montgomery College student
The University of Maryland men’s basketball coach, Mark Turgeon, his staff and the players invited 40 Special Olympics athletes to a basketball clinic this January. The Terps coaches and players really care about making a difference in society, and they support Special Olympics with lots of enthusiasm.
I go to bond with the team and the coaches. They took the time to learn all the Special Olympics players’ names and got to know us a little bit. That meant a lot to me because it demonstrated that they wanted to show other schools that they should not judge people with disabilities, since people with disabilities have a lot to offer the world. After the clinic, the players stuck around to take pictures with us. I was honored and excited to have my picture taken with Melo Trimble. When I look at this picture years from now I will always remember this day and what it meant to me. All of the Special Olympics basketball players and I inspired the Terps men’s basketball team to work harder and play better during their season.
I never dreamed I would be able to play with the Terps, but there I was throwing alley-oops to Jake Layman and Diamond Stone. Some think people with disabilities can’t compete with those without disabilities, but this clinic showed me that if you believe in yourself and play your hardest anything is possible. Go, Terps!