INSPIRATIONAL ATHLETES

May 03, 2019
By: Erica Rose
Talk about getting assigned a story that puts life in perspective. Well that’s what happened to me Wednesday evening.  Typically I cover games, as you know, but every once in a while it's nice to do something different; especially when it means so much to so many people.  

We already know Scott McClarry, former Muhlenberg head coach and current Bethlehem Catholic head basketball coach, is a great coach.  But year in and year out, he gives back to the community whether it's with his McHoops Camp or his Special Olympics Clinic.  Wednesday night, it was the 11th annual clinic.  This year, it was held at Bethlehem Catholic, because it was important to him to get his team out there volunteering.  He also had some of his 6th grade AAU team out there, who weren’t necessarily the biggest help, but they got exposure to see these athletes out there are just like them.  They have fun, they play hard and they are optimistic on life.  

This was the second straight year that I covered the clinic and every year I leave with a big smile.  Just seeing the joy on their faces, and watching how excited they get is heartwarming.  It also puts a lot of things in perspective.  I will not deny that I am one who likes to stress about everything, but really I should just enjoy the moment that I am in.  These Special Olympians enjoy life.  They have friendships; they have significant others, and they play sports.  They are just like us in so many ways, and there is so much that we can learn from them.

Last nights clinic marked the final practice of their season.  Just like other athletes they compete in tournaments, and this weekend is the biggest one yet.  The athletes compete in a 3v3 half court basketball program for the Lehigh County, and on Saturday 15 will travel to Kutztown University for the Eastern Sectional.  The goal is simple: to win the gold and advance to the state games in June.  Of the 22 teams in attendance on Saturday only 10 make it to Penn State.  The program has had success in prior years, and expects to do just as well this year.  Making it to Penn State is a huge deal for them, and they honestly love it.  They get to stay in a dorm with a roommate for 3 days, giving them the college experience!

No one is left out either, if you know someone at least 8 years old who is interested in basketball, they are welcome to play in the league; and they can play for as long as they want!  Last night there was a 41 year old having fun!

This was a great story to be a part of.  I met so many amazing people and I hope they have great success this weekend and in everything they do.