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Special Olympics Spring Spin Tennis Tournament

March 30, 2016 11:25 AM

Special Olympics Spring Spin Tennis Tournament
By Patrick Yackmack, USTA SC


Ann Marie, 24 from Charleston, SC said “I think tennis is a great sport and I get to play with so many great people. Sports are amazing and I always get great support.” Ann Marie was one of the 131 Special Olympics athletes who participated in the Spring Spin Tennis Tournament at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center on March 12.

A day full of tennis and fun, the Special Olympics of South Carolina athletes played over 90 matches. The event brought together athletes of all tennis levels and both doubles and singles were played throughout the day. They also had a court just for those beginner players who worked on perfected their strokes.

Sue Maner, Executive Vice President of Special Olympics South Carolina, said, “The athletes playing today trained for 8 weeks and had to compete in state competitions. Our goal is get everyone on a team and play the sport that they can play for a lifetime.” Maner was very happy with how the overall event and the overwhelming support from the many volunteers. Maner also thanked Kelly Garrick who managed all registration and the scheduling of all the matches.

Each court had an official and a few volunteers. The volunteers would help retrieve the balls and make sure each player was on the right side of the court for the next serve. The officials would help keep track of score and announce it before each point. The volunteers and officials maintained high energy which helped the athletes perform at their very best.

Josh Tutterow has been a volunteer for the Special Olympics organization for 8 years and has helped at various events including national world games. Josh said, “I love interacting with the athletes. They take to you immediately and love you.” Josh was helping on court and also helping with the flow of lunch to make sure all athletes were eating.Special_Olympics_Cayce2

Special Olympics South Carolina has 24,844 athletes and they host multiple sporting competitions throughout the year. Each athlete competes in multiple sports throughout the year and trains for weeks to perfect their skills. USTA SC provides a $1,000 equipment grant assisting Special Olympics South Carolina give local programs tennis balls.

The athletes are awarded medals after their competitions. They also have a chance to step up on the podium and receive applause.

Maner stressed the importance and benefit that sports bring to these athletes, “These athletes benefit from playing multiple sports and competing against each other. It helps them establish new relationships, make new friends and keeps them healthy.”