Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Weber State's Special Olympics Basketball Team Takes Bronze


Weber State's Special Olympics basketball team took bronze in Saturday's competition at the University of Utah with the help of one of their coaches Makenzie Frandsen.
Nineteen-year-old Frandsen is a full-time WSU student who volunteers as a coach for WSU's Special Olympics basketball team. Not only does Frandsen spend her time volunteering but she also works part-time at a local salon.
With hardly any time to spare she was still thrilled to see her team succeed. With twenty other teams in the competition, taking third place was quite an accomplishment for WSU.
"The players were all so excited to have placed third," Frandsen said. "The cool thing about it, though, is that all the teams were excited for each other. It doesn't really matter how they place in these competitions because they're all friends and support each other either way."
When players would fall, trip, or get hurt in the game, every player would run to the player in need and help him or her up.
However, coaching those with special needs is no easy task. Sometimes there are certain players who require extra attention, and it can be hard to motivate a team with special needs.
"It can be really frustrating, and it takes a lot of patience. If you give them all of your attention, though, and let them know that you care then they cooperate pretty well," Frandsen said.
Even though Frandsen does a great service to the community and to these special needs athletes, she feels that she receives a great service in return. Frandsen said she loves to volunteer because it is rewarding to teach them a hobby that she loves so much. Even though they might not be the best players, they definitely have the most spirit about it, she said.
WSU's Special Olympics team will continue to practice and will compete in more upcoming competitions. The Special Olympics is categorized into two seasons, summer and winter, and several competitions take place throughout the year.
The Special Olympics are funded by organizations, such as universities and major companies, and most organizations for a team that competes in the events. WSU's Special Olympics basketball team will next compete this upcoming February.
"It's nice to have fans in the audience," Frandsen said, "whether it's family or friends. It lets the special needs athletes know that people care and it makes them work even harder."

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