Action Team Captains, Major Leaguers pitch in for local Special Olympics team
Major League players Trevor Brown, Mike Montgomery and Chad Smith joined Action Team Captains from West Ranch High School when they hosted their annual softball game with the local Special Olympics Sharks earlier this month.
Nearly 40 of the high school volunteers and 10 coaches provided companionship and instruction for the 45 athletes from the Santa Clarita, Calif., Special Olympics team.
"It was a great day to work with the Action Team alongside the Special Olympics of Santa Clarita," said Smith, a pitcher who recently signed with the Rangers and who grew up in the area. "Today we shared laughs and smiles with some outstanding young people."
Smith, Brown, a catcher with the Giants, and Montgomery, a pitcher with the Mariners, surprised the Special Olympians when they joined the group at West Ranch High School.
The game was rained out on Oct. 4, so the Captains decided to move it to Nov. 1. Before the event, Action Team Captain Douglas Gragg held an equipment drive, collecting gloves, bats, balls, equipment bags, helmets and T-shirts for the participants of the Santa Clarita Special Olympics.
"It was an amazing event filled with fun for both the athletes and the volunteers," Gragg said. "Seeing the warm smiles and how happy we could make the athletes made my day."
After warmups and stretching, the group split based on skill level. Everyone eventually came together again at the end for photos and a pizza party hosted by the West Ranch Action Team.
Coach Janet from Special Olympics Santa Clarita conveyed her appreciation of all of the work put into the event.
"Just seeing the look of wonder on [special Olympics participant] Andrew's face when he saw a San Francisco Giant in the dugout and got to get a picture and an autograph with Trevor was priceless," said the Special Olympics team coach. "West Ranch puts on a class event each year."
Special Olympics Southern California
The mission of Special Olympics Southern California is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing 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.
Our vision is to provide sports and training programs for any individual with intellectual disabilities who chooses to participate, thereby improving their lives and the lives of everyone they touch. For more information please visit www.sosc.org.
For more information on the Action Team program or to #JoinOurTeam please visit www.actionteam.org.