‘Special’ athletes teach DBU team all about the joy of sports

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DALLAS—The Dallas Baptist University Patriot baseball team faced the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks at the NCAA Regional Tournament in Waco June 1. But one week earlier, the DBU athletes spent a day serving on the UTA campus as volunteers at the Special Olympics Summer Games.

Members of the Dallas Baptist University baseball team cheer on athletes in the tennis competition at the Special Olympics.

The 30 student athletes saw it as a welcome opportunity to take the focus off themselves, give back to the community and maintain perspective on the important things in life, participants said.

"It was a fantastic opportunity to experience true joy with athletes with big hearts," senior Landon Anderson said, characterizing the Special Olympics athletes as "truly inspiring."

The DBU volunteers divided into groups to help with a variety of activities across the UTA campus. Several team members assisted with tennis competitions, while others kept score during basketball games.

But one of their most significant tasks of the day was cheering on the Special Olympians and being there to offer a congratulatory smile or high-five as they completed various events.

Freshman Jay Calhoun volunteered with the Special Olympics for the first time this year. "It made me realize how much I take playing baseball for granted," he said. "Those kids loved the opportunity to get out there and do their best at whatever sport they were participating in. That is how it should be every day, no matter what we are doing, just enjoying the opportunities and blessings God has given us."

Austin Knight (left), volunteer assistant baseball coach at Dallas Baptist University, and Carlton Patton, DBU junior, help athletes with basketball activities at the Special Olympics. (DBU Photos)

Chase Durham (left), a junior at Dallas Baptist University,  and Ryan Millard (right), director of operations at DBU, help an athlete through the basketball activities at the Special Olympics.

Serving at the Special Olympics for the past several years has become a highlight for the Patriots, several team members noted.

"I thank God every day for giving me the ability to play the game of baseball that I love so much, and the Special Olympics is his way of allowing these special athletes to compete in all the sports and activities they love to play," senior Taylor Massey said.

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