Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

Take it to the Hoop Hosted at Taylor

By Bryce Crossman Feb 13, 2024

On February 10, Grant County Special Olympics hosted Take it to the Hoop at Taylor University’s Kesler Student Activities Center.

“Grant County Special Olympics are for special needs in our community,” Diane Wine, a volunteer at Take to the Hoop, said.

The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 to encourage acceptance of those who have disabilities by giving them opportunities to grow and shape their skills and gifts.

“You can always tell the excitement,” Wine said. “It’s just amazing watching how these kids light up when they get to participate in something like this.”

Sherry Stepp, an athlete who participated in Take it to the Hoop said that she started playing in 2011. Stepp said that being rallied for and supporting everybody else from the different teams is amazing.

“They work with everybody, mostly the coaches are more one-on-one to help impact on me,” Stepp said.

Matt Mitchell, who also participated in this event said that basketball has helped him with responsibility and being on a team.

“It helped me get through today when I got back from practice,” Mitchell said. “It helps me get through the team effort I need to do and get things settled and just be ready to go, be on the way on time, and not worry about, you know, at home or anywhere else.”

This was also Darren George and his team’s first time at Take it to the Hoop. They have played several tournaments in Indiana and he said he and his team were impressed with this tournament.

“What we’ve been able to build has changed me profoundly,” George said. “My athletes find confidence; they find camaraderie and teamwork.”

Both Wine and George got involved after helping some of their relatives with special needs.

“For these young athletes, to be able to learn how to slow the game down to control their emotions is a big part of them maturing and growing,” George said. “There’s not a season that goes by that one or more of the athlete’s parents come up and say this program, this basketball program, has changed my child’s life for the better.”

Jameson Chesser, a volunteer, said he heard about the event through the Taylor Football team. He and his roommates talked about it and agreed to sign up to help.

“Honestly, I’ve never refed before.,” Chesser said. “So the experience was really cool.”

The Grant County Special Olympics has its Men’s, Women’s, and Youth Basketball Tournaments in April as well as swimming.

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