The inaugural basketball season for the Champaign County Special Olympics team known as the Champaign County Shooters concludes tonight, March 25, with a friendly game versus local celebrities. The public is invited to attend and support the Shooters at 6 p.m. at the Champaign Family YMCA, 191 Community Drive. “This game is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and add joy in your heart,” according to event organizers.
The Champaign County Shooters team consists of 17 athletes with intellectual disabilities, three coaches and a fan club. The Special Olympians worked hard to improve their basketball skills, teamwork, understanding of the game and overall physical fitness. The Shooters’ coaches – head coach Alfredo Gutierrez and assistant coaches Brett and Kim Dunn – were determined to get a basketball team started this year and dedicated numerous hours to secure donations to purchase basketballs and uniforms for the athletes. They used the Y for practices and games.
“We’re extremely proud of our basketball team. The players never fail to amaze us with their support of each other. They’re a courageous and resilient group,” said Gutierrez. “As coaches, we take great pride in knowing that each of our players scored at least one basket this season. The smiles and joy that our Special Olympians bring to each practice and game is incredible.”
This season’s team sponsors are the Champaign Family YMCA, La Palma Mexican restaurant, East Lawn and Garden Center, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dennis Rizer, and Urbana Church of Christ.
Champaign County Special Olympics is an accredited local organization of Special Olympics Ohio, currently offering basketball, volleyball, bowling, and track and field. The county’s Special Olympics leadership hopes to expand the programming and offer year-round sports training opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics is run by volunteers and is funded through donations and fundraisers. All programs are free for the athletes and their families pay no fees.
Those interested in supporting Champaign County Special Olympics or who know of an individual who would be interested in participating are welcome to contact Kim Dunn at 937-308-6870 or email@example.com for more information.