KATY, Texas (FOX 26) - “You know, it's about 200 athletes now in Katy Wolf Pack,” says coach Bob Lovell. “It takes literally a village to get everybody moving in the right direction but it works and we enjoy it immensely.”
This group of Special Olympic athletes and coaches from Katy compete at the state tournament every year around this time. This is their 20th year anniversary. Specialties of this group include basketball and cheer.
“We're taking five basketball teams. We've got nine cheerleaders going with us,” says coach Don Wolf. “We started the season in December. So we have a league, a six-week league. We had teams and play. We had an area tournament. Now, this sets us up for the state games."
Last weekend, they competed in Arlington. Competing is one of the many benefits of Special Olympics, which has been in existence now for 50 years. There are also other benefits.
“Special Olympics is such a great organization. It enables them to be part of sporting events. It's part of social skills, communications,” Wolf says. “Just the camaraderie between the athletes, coaches and not only our athlete, but athletes from other organizations.”
It takes dedication, time, and dollars from thousands of volunteers and donors at the national level. Locally, it takes the same dedication and dollars. The members of the Katy Wolf Pack say the community of Katy is all in.
“The Katy Wolf Pack is pretty much all reliant on private donations,” Lovell says. “A lot of the kids work in the community or they're in school. So the community does a wonderful job in supporting us and giving us what we need to take 200 athletes to the state games. It's wonderful.”
Special Olympics athlete Brandon Todd is from Buffalo, New York. He looks forward to yearly participation, particularly with the game of basketball.
“I like it here. Yeah. This is my first time joining here,” Todd says.
“The Katy community is so awesome. What they do for our games and stuff, we have different high schools, we have different junior highs, we have church groups, we have volunteer groups that come on out and they scrimmage us in softball or swimming or basketball,” Wolf says. “It's just an outpouring of support from this community.”
It makes the Olympians so competitive that in last week’s games everyone medaled.