Area26 news & updates
April 2020 | Issue 8
Stay at Home Edition
Let me win, but if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt.
A Letter from the Area 26 Council Chairman
To the Area 26 Community, 

By now, you've learned of Special Olympics plans to suspend Spring Sports and Summer Games. I understand that these are unusual circumstances and that our normal routines will be disrupted for a period of time. Together, we will work through the challenges of our current situation.

Thank you for your patience during this time of unprecedented challenge for our community and immeasurable disappointment for so many of our athletes. In the few weeks since our world suddenly halted, our community has been singularly focused on the athletes whom we are unequivocally committed to serving. As we face our new reality together, our attention has shifted to operational continuity during this extended remote period.  The COVID-19 impact on our communities is rapidly changing, therefore our action plans and response must evolve accordingly.  I have spoken to SOVA officials and we are still planning for Fall sports and activities. 

Most importantly, on behalf of our entire program, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Please allow me to be among the many to encourage you to practice social distancing and adhere to all CDC health and safety guidelines. As the largest area in VA, it is my hope that we can be a leader in setting the social distancing standard for the rest of the State. All of us are counting on each other to do our part in defeating our newest opponent, COVID-19. We would like to thank everyone for your kindness and support, especially our health professionals, truck drivers, grocery store employees, first responders and all other essential operations personnel. 

I've been very much inspired by the community's response to this crisis. There are countless examples of volunteers – the overwhelming majority of whom many of you will never know – selflessly committing to the success and well-being of our programs and athletes. During this challenging time, many athletes could use words of encouragement as they adapt to remote learning, exercising at home or outdoors, and social distancing practices that can have an isolating effect. Sending words of encouragement can be uplifting for athletes. Many of our athletes live away from home independently, or in group homes, supported living environment, with a relative, or do not have relatives. The burden of the current crisis weighs heavily on athletes and their families, friends and caregivers so support from the broader community can remind them that we are all here for one another during this stressful period.

I greatly appreciate your patience, understanding, and commitment. In these uncertain times, I am especially grateful to have dedicated individuals like you in our Area 26 Community. I wish you the best and look forward to seeing you again soon. In closing, let me express my deep gratitude for your constant support. Your dedication and care have been unwavering as we navigate through this difficult period.  

Thank you and please take care.

Elaine Tilton
Area 26 Council Chairman
From the Editor...
Has anybody noticed that we are missing a season? As many have said, 2020 is on "pause". Not only did we lose the Spring sports and Summer Games, now even the regular Summer Olympics in Japan are being delayed a whole year. We all hold out hope that by Football Season and Fall Sports things will get back to normal.

For now, EVERYONE needs to stay fit at home, practice social distancing, and drink lots of fluids. Besides spending time on home exercise, we at the newsletter are taking the lack of new stories to look at some special people and programs in more depth. We hope you enjoy the features, and that we will soon have a better idea when things will get back to normal, and we can go back to reporting on wins and heros.
So...Here is the Stay At Home issue!!
More from the Fitness Pals expansion team ...
Michael England getting the swing just right!!
Muscleman Tony Linthicum doing pushup reps and Football Pass-Distance Champion Austin Ward practicing softball skills
Tammy Kiser tap dancing
Sam Selnick burning pounds on the treadmill
Tyler O'Hara working his dribbling skills
CJ Waller staying active by working and keeping our community fed
Plankmaster Jeff Eskridge
Max Hershberger STILL on the run...
Kevin Bennett rocking the pushup
Sean Minnick getting his lungs stronger
David Kellet-Forsyth...
Hoang Phan killing the core with leglifts
Olivia Baker playing catch with
her Uncle's dogs
Jay Choi on the ropes...
Veronica Brown training
Kyle Holdener driving RC Cars
Vivian Alonso getting her boogie on!!
Jeyoon Cho out for a walk
Gavin Brody getting in some stretching...
...and on a walk with his dad, George
Tasha Adkins-Blanch (right) with her roommate Meagan Mundy (left) out for a walk
Gabe Ely shooting the long ball...
Catie Cunningham nailing the plank
Patrick "PK" Kelly showing plank INTENSITY
Matt Tierney working the weights INdoors...
...and his dog working HIM OUTdoors
Olivia Baker doing her own
personal glide-a-thon
Jackie Hoffmeier out for a walk
and cheer dancing
Allie Robbins out for a bike ride
Eve Lotterer and Conrad Wnuk walking by Reston Lake
Distance runner/swimmer Bruce McGiboney speeding by his father on a run!!
Kyle Holdener driving in the
"social distance" lane
Jeff Cogswell with Captain Billy Pipkin, his fishing bud.
Tyler O’Hara riding his bike
Nick Ortega pounding the pavement
Kevin Pfeil having a ball
David Kellet-Forsyth and Christian Graham practicing soccer for the fall season
Alex Bolden doing a variation pushup
Kristen Darrah sit up and CRUNCH
Mason Athlete Josh Foster had another great idea for sharing his activities...he sent images of his run route along with his photo.
If you have other ways to share your activities, or more pictures like the ones in this post, you can send them at the button...

Pease keep sending photos, and we will keep putting them up.
Revealing the Champion in all of us...
The Voice of Area 26
You may not recognize the face, but the voice is one you have probably heard if you have been at major events in our Area and SOVA over the past year. Daniel Morales is a regular on the mike for play-by-play and announcements.

Daniel does videos for Special Olympics - he is the host of "Coolest Minute in Plunge", which you can find our the SOVA Potomac Region Facebook Site.

I got the chance to ask Daniel a few questions about announcing this month - here are some excerpts from our interview:

Q: How long have you been in Special Olympics and how long have you been an announcer?
A: I have been in SO for 11 years, and have about a year on the microphone.

Q: How did you get into announcing?
A: I have wanted to be a broadcaster since the 5th Grade. I love watching Al Michaels, listening to the old recordings of Vin Scully and Harry Caray, and try to be like them, but with my own style.

Q: What sports do you play as a Special Olympian?
A: I have played Softball, Bocce and Bowling, but right now (or at least if there wasn't COVID...) I do Soccer, Track and Basketball. I like ALL sports - that is why I like announcing.

Q: How long have you been in the area?
A: I am an Army brat, and our family settled here for good in 2011.

Q: Is there something you would like to say to the community in this difficult time?
A: YES. Everyone keep safe - don't go crazy being stuck inside. Just find things to do at home, and hopefully I will see you all back on the court/field/arena very soon.
You can see more of Daniel's interviews and other video at his YouTube site at the button.
April Featured Sport: Aquatics
-by Nancy Robbins
The largest program of the Spring/ Summer season is the Area Aquatics program.

Our program is a competitive swim program with 7 teams:

  • Burke Barracudas
  • Wakefield Wahoos
  • Lee District Sea Lions
  • Mason
  • Oakton Swim Club
  • Springhill Stingrays
  • OakMarr Marlins

Our 2020 season was off to a great start with all of the teams at or close to capacity and practicing. Just as we were all preparing for Time Trials, COVID19 struck and shut us down.

For those of you not familiar with the aquatics program, here is what it's all about.

The Aquatics program is not a Learn to Swim Program, although some teams do offer a skills component for those who want to compete in skills events.
We encourage any athlete wanting to learn to swim to enroll in an adapted swim class through Parktakes prior to joining a swim team. Before joining a team, the coaches will access the athlete to ensure they can safely swim at least the length of the pool or complete a skills assessment.
Allie Robbins setting the pace...
Most teams practice 1 day for 1-2 hours. Our competitions consist of: Time Trials, Regional (qualifier) Meet, Potomac Invitational Meet and the State Games. Only those swimmers who meet specific criteria will be eligible for State Games (attendance, compliance with SO code of conduct and 1st place in their events at the Regional Meet). Selection for the State Games is done through a draw from the swimmers who qualified at the Regional Meet. With almost 200 swimmers in our program, we are only able to take a certain percentage each year to the State Games which are held in Richmond VA. It is a 3 day event packed with competition and other really great activities.

If you are interested in the aquatics program either for a swimmer or to volunteer, please contact Nancy Robbins by clicking the button.  s
See you by the Pool...
GOLD AT STATES: Breastroker Kevin Bennet takes home Gold - Again...
Basketball Season Last Words...and a Special Evening
As you all know, the BBall season came to an abrupt end when COVAD-19 caused a cancellation of the remaining March events - the March Madness Tournament and the Marymount Invitational.

We were lucky that the Champs were finished before the Pause, but sorry that we had to bench the program. (Just like the NCAA, WNBA, and NBA...) Oh well, we will ALL be back on the Hardwoods next year...
One very special event did happen just before the transition to COVID lockdown. Several Area Basketball players were invited to join the Wizards and Mystics again this year at SO Unified All Star Basketball Game at Dunbar HS in Washington DC.

Wizards and Mystics players, staff and dancers came together and joined Special Olympics coaches Sarah Pike and Ana Lisa Evans, with help from honorary coaches Troy Brown Jr., Moritz Wagner and Ariel Atkins on the Blue Team . They took on the Red Team, led by head coaches Madi McKenna and Lindsey Wilkes and honorary coaches Ish Smith, Thomas Bryant and Elena Delle Donne.

Several Wizards players (including John Wall and Gary Payton II) refereed the game as well.
The game was a TRUE nail-biter. The two very well matched teams played at full power, and went to overtime!!

To add to the drama, at the very end of the overtime period, there was a foul at the buzzer with the score once again tied.

A missed free throw resulted in the game coming off as a 34-34 tie, with everyone celebrating a fantastic matchup!
Another part of staying healthy...
Who IS that masked man... The Lone Grower!! Heigh Ho Sunflower, Away!!
Multi-sport athlete Ben Fowler has another passion that is valuable in this new stay-at-home world.

He grows his own micro-greens for use in cooking as accents and spices.

There are a varitety of choices, such as
  • Sunflower Shoots
  • Pea Shoots
  • Purple and Green Radish Microgreens
  • Tasty Salad mix with Arugala, Red Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Broccoli
With coronavirus going around, Ben wants you to know that he cleans and disinfects per FDA guidelines with a Clorox solution on his granite counter tops.

As always though, make sure you wash your microgreens thoroughly under cold running water prior to eating (also per FDA guidelines)
Upcoming Events
Hopefully the Fall Season...
Please continue to share information about this newsletter and website with those you know in the community so that we can better share the wonder of our special athletes and volunteers . To sign up to receive the newsletter, go to our webform Newsletter Subscription
Area 26 Points of Contact
Area 26 Council

Elaine Tilton

Patrick DeLapp
Billy Duquette
Bruce Fingerhut
Veronica Jennings
Nancy Julia
Abby Lacy
Nancy Robbins
Paul Tierney
Bernie Woolfley
Season Directors
Elaine Tilton, Fall/Winter

Nancy Julia, Spring/Summer

Barry Tilton

Volunteer Coordinator
Bruce Fingerhut

Medical Coordinator
Barb DeLisa

Senior Director, Potomac Region
Veronica Jennings

Area 26 Special Olympics |