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Playing against the odds

“My fiancé volunteers too. Her sister has down syndrome. They’ve been involved with Special Olympics for eight years. I went to a soccer game with her and thought ‘Okay I can get into this,’” says Michael Becker, PEC structural design engineer.

Becker has been a coach for the Douglas County Special Olympics (DCSO) for two years.

DCSO’s mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the Douglas County area. The program gives them opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

“I take a group or a team and run practices with them. I coach soccer, track and field, basketball and bowling,” says Becker.

He says the most rewarding part about being a DCSO volunteer is seeing the support the athletes get from each other and the crowd for all their hard work.

“I encourage anyone who has the time to volunteer with local teams. There are teams in almost every city. They are always looking for someone to donate time and talents to events and practices and give athletes a chance to participate.”