Special Olympics Athletes Compete in Basketball Tournament

LYNN HAVEN - High-energy cheers and motivation fill the air as Bay Counties' Special Olympics Athletes shoot and dribble down the court.

25 athletes took part in this year's Special Olympics Florida Bay County Bay Area Two Games designed to bring players closer through competition.

"They love it. I love watching them. I love hearing people in the stands cheering for them," said Terry Rigdon, Mom/Organizer.

"My favorite part was shooting; shooting the baskets," said Baylee Hanson, Athlete.

"Dribbling, because that's what I do the best," said Athlete Devon Cuthbert.

The older athletes played three rounds of basketball.

The younger kids worked one-on-one with coaches in individual skill learning sections.

"I just want to cry every time because they are included," said Kathy Hanson, Mom/Volunteer.

At the end of a day filled with a lot of laughs all the athletes received a ribbon for their participation.

But these players take more than a ribbon home.

Rigdon said, "Her self-esteem and to be a part of a team. They root and cheer for each other."

"Her therapists in school have seen a major difference. It's good self-esteem, but also physical activity for them also," said Stephanie Gildden, Mom/Volunteer.

The athletes are gearing up for state games in Gainesville next month.

If you'd like to volunteer or are interested in sponsoring the organization email Terry Rigdon at specialolympicsbaycounty@gmail.com