NRV softball team heads to Special Olympics invitational
Special Olympics Virginia is thrilled to announce that the New River Valley Unified Softball Team RockSolid will join 23 teams from across the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico at Mercer County Park in New Jersey for the 2013 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational.
With more than 360 athletes and 96 coaches participating, competition will kick off on Friday, Aug. 23, with medal rounds concluding on Sunday, Aug. 25. The invitational, presented by Moose International, is hosted by the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, in conjunction with Special Olympics North America, in advance of the 2014 USA Games being held in Mercer County on June 14-21, 2014.
RockSolid is a Unified Softball Team. Special Olympics Unified Sports brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team to compete. Half a million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a fun way. Most of the members of RockSolid have played together in many sports for several years. As with most team sports, memberships has its rewards. Nicknames are terms of endearment among team members — “Grandmaw,” “TallPaul,, “KP,” “DeadEye,” “Santa Claus” and a couple of “Shorty’s,” to name a few.
RockSolid is one of two teams from Virginia competing in this tournament. After arriving via Amtrak on Thursday, play will commence on Friday morning following an Opening Day celebration that begins at 9 a.m. Opening day festivities will include a special parade of athletes, a series of speakers featuring Master of Ceremonies and USA Softball Olympic Gold Medalist Amanda Freed and a ceremonial first pitch. The teams will be involved in several special events each day.
The team is planning a special sendoff for their last practice, Tuesday, Aug. 20, at Falling Branch Elementary, including a few special guests to cheer them on. RockSolid has been very unified in their fundraising efforts and is working on reaching their goal of $5,000 to fund the trip.
To support RockSolid’s journey, visit www.firstgiving.com/sova/Area-9-NIST-Fundraiser.
The coaches, Tom Williams and Mark Caldwell, have more than 18 years’ combined experience coaching in Special Olympics. Caldwell, father of team member Clay, will be singing the national anthem to open the day of the medal round games.
Scores, updates and photos from the Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational Tournament will be available at www.2014specialolympics.org. The Opening Day Celebration, all games and the medal ceremonies throughout the weekend are free and open to the public.
– Submitted by SOVA Southwest
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