Area Softball Team Heading to National Competition
In 2010, a Special Olympics Unified Softball Team was formed in Brevard County. Little did they know, four years later they would be going to the 2014 Special Olympics National Games in New Jersey.
The softball team is Bob Rall’s second experience with Special Olympics Brevard, his first being the track and field team, starting in 2007. Outside of Special Olympics, he’s the founder and president of Rall Capital Management. Not only does he participate, but his wife and children do as well. “We have developed some wonderful relationships with our athletes and our work with them has become a passion for our family,” he said.
The Unified Sports Program puts together teams made up of athletes and partners and allows them to work together towards a common goal. The athletes learn from the partners, and the partners learn from the athletes. There are 14 members of the Unified Softball team – half are special athletes and half are partners.
From June 14 to 21, the team will be traveling to New Jersey to compete in the games along with 3,500 other athletes from around the country. The event includes 16 different sports competitions and draws an estimated 80,000 people to the area. In April, the team started their Spring Training and participated in tournaments with other Special Olympic teams from surrounding counties and local softball teams.
Their vision for the last few years has been to build the team and get into a position to qualify for the Special Olympics USA Games. At the end of 2013, they were awarded the Unified Softball team slot to represent Team Florida at the USA Games. After fundraising for two years, the team will finally get their chance to compete.
“Providing our special athletes with the ability to participate in a variety of sports in order to compete to the best of their abilities is huge,” Rall said. “When you get to know our athletes and see the joy they receive when they compete, you’ll understand.”
Getting involved is simple. There are various sports running all year long, with many volunteer opportunities for each. You can volunteer at local competitions and events, volunteer as a head coach or Unified Partner, or volunteer on the management team. Visit SOBrevard.org to get started and sign up.
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