Area26 news & updates
January 2021 | Issue 17
Let me win, but if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt.
From the Editor...
Face Mask 1
A New Year, a new National Government, but more COVID and more stay-at-home life for a while longer. The Virtual Winter program has started, with several programs running to give you things to do and people to see (by Zoom, at least...) lots of athletes all over the Area are participating in workouts with their teams or with other Area athletes or are staying active in other ways.

We have lots of pictures of how everyone celebrated the holidays, and some info on the Winter Combine which is about to kick off. Stay masked and read on, friends...
2021 Winter programs and activities will all be virtual...
A message to all Area 26 athletes, coaches, volunteers and families...After reviewing the current SO International and SOVA policies, and considering the worsening COVID situation of having two new virus strains and a slow rollout of the vaccine, the Area Council has determined that there will be no Winter season in person activities this year. We will look again at the situation when Spring sports are supposed to begin to see if we can open up some options.

We understand this will be a disappointment to many, but we believe it is the safest course for Area 26.  We will return to in-person sports as soon as it is safe to do so.
Holiday Celebrations...

In the New Year's message we requested inputs on how our Area athletes and volunteers were celebrating the holiday season. We got some great pictures of all kinds of fun. Here are your friends and teammates on break....
Stephen, Barb and Eve Lotterer playing Upwords on New Years Eve
David and Brian Vonack with a VERY big tree!
Nick Ortega celebrating treeside
Kevin Bennett opening his presents
Jeff Emery opening his presents
Jay Choi on a snow walk
Vivian Alonso celebrating with her favorite Christmas present
Olivia and the Baker family -together time
Michael England and Austin Ward with a jersey swap
Hoang Phan and his dad celebrating Christmas
Stephen James at the Christmas Buffet
Sam Selnick Shopping
Coach Paul Campo and his family together for the season
Coaches Barry, Elaine and Alina Tilton and Kyler Reese ringing in the New Year
Sean and the Minnick family celebrating
Chris Robinson, Jeff Cogswell, Kyler Reese, Jeyoon Cho and David Kellet-Forsyth with their own tree
Gabe Ely and a WARM fire
The Emery (athlete Jeff and Golf Coordinator Mark) House fully "decked"
CJ and the Waller Clan together
Alex Hansen took time during the break to build this vintage airplane model.
Joey Messaros with a masked holiday smile
Patrick and Vanna Delapp on a New Mexico road trip over the holidays
The McGiboney Clan (Coach Jeff and athlete Bruce...) all cleaned up for the holiday!!
Area 26 Council Secretary and Virtual Programs Coordinator, Abby Lacey and James Whidden got engaged on New Years!
Our Tilton West Coast Division - Coach Beleny, Kasey and Kia with their Christmas presents getting ready to audition fo the role of Christmas Present in Scrooge. Next is the "Long Winter's Nap"...
In Memoriam..Paul Owens
  • Coaches Gail Whalen and Sandy Schwartz.
The Lions Pride Softball Team is sad to announce that Paul Owens, an Area 26 Special Olympics athlete for 30 years, passed away on Dec 19, 2020. He was a member of the Lions Pride for many years and also participated in the bowling program. Paul loved to go to State Games in Richmond, where he could play softball, spend the weekend with his team in the dorm, eating at the cafeteria, and dancing after the Closing Ceremony. In June, 2019, Paul had the honor of leading the Athlete’s Oath with another athlete at the Opening Ceremony in Richmond. However, what he loved even more, was the annual softball game, called The Battle of the Golden Helmet, between Lions Pride and the Loudoun Cardinals. He played some of his best softball at these games, even hitting a home run one year to win the game.
Paul worked for 23 years at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he was a member of the Environmental Services Team. He died there after suffering a stroke at home. As his last act, Paul became an organ donor, helping others to live a longer life. As a tribute to his service, the hospital gave Paul an “Honor Walk” through halls lined with Hospital Staff as he left for the last time.

Paul leaves behind his sisters Rosetta Virgilio and Suzanne Turner and brothers Richard Owens and John Owens and their spouses and children. Marty, Paul’s brother-in-law and Evan, his nephew, volunteered with Lions Pride. He also leaves his beloved Lions Pride Team, who will miss his charm, wit, and enthusiasm for having a good time.

The Family has requested that in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to SO Area 26 or to Inova Health System Foundation, or to the Washington Regional Transplant Community.
Virtual Activities Update...
Area 26 Community,

Our Winter program is under way.

I know a lot of folks are ZOOMed out after 9 months, but if you want to ZOOM in, and if you aren't already playing, look at the website & facebook pages to figure out what's going on.
Additional Activities- Don't forget about Yoga, Dance Party and more that occur each week! ((
Pre-recorded classes continue...
If your schedule makes it hard to meet our live virtual events and practices, check out what we have to offer for exercises you can fit into your busy schedule!
YOUniquely Fit is continuing to run their excellent program into the new year. There is room for several more athletes if you are looking for a great way to get in some exercise with some top-notch SO Coaches on days you don't have team practice. You can join at the button, Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday from 6 to 7pm!
The Oakton Swim Club joined the Crafting Collab winter craft activity as a group. They challenged themselves with some finger knitting and had fun with their new Virtual Companions friends.
Keep up the energy everybody! 
Fit-5 Fitness Pals Monthly Update...
The Fit5-Five...Chris, Tom, Dave, Max and Kyler have been Working out, but also getting together with the friends in their bubble to celebrate things like the Football playoffs....
Tom Merz and friend Caitlin Donovan celebrating the holdays together
Chris, Kyler, their friend Jeyoon and David ready for the Bowl Series
...And Max by his tree after yet another LOOOONG distance run!!
You can still check out their Workout Video on our YouTube Site by clicking the button.
Athletes Corner
  • by Jeff Cogswell
Hello Area 26!!

I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks to the DC Guzzlers Organization – Fairfax Adult Men’s Softball Team for showing their support by donating to Area 26 Special Olympics. 

This group of guys have a military background and have not only monetarily shown their support to Area 26 but, personally have come out to many of my basketball tournaments and softball games to support me and my teammates. DC Guzzlers have taken me under their wings and accepted me for who I am – not what I am.  

They understand and see my disability, know my limitations and abilities and yet they include me in their activities as they see fit. On behalf of Area 26 thank you DC Guzzlers for your support - every dollar donated helps support our program. 

-Talk to you all next month,
Staying Active is the key for now!!
While staying physically active and fit is definitely a focus, we all need to keep busy doing things that matter and things that are just FUN. Here are some pictures of some of our Area teams and how they are using the time...
Coach Andrew and some of the Condors meet to socialize and exercise via Zoom.
The Green Machine continued their workouts through the break - HARDCORE!!
Warhawks first 2021 Workout (and dance party)! Some of the crew still on the way back from New Years, but we still got the groove!
Take some screenshots and get your team in the spotlight at the button...
We love to have your inputs - so keep busy and...
2021 Polar Plunge - VIRTUAL THIS YEAR...

Keeping with the ongoing spirit of doing EVERYTHING different, we are supporting the annual plunge in a new way this year. Everyone is going to plunge at home. Be it in a pool, a bathtub, or in a bucket in the yard, we will all get wet and get chilly.

The Area 26 Age of Shivery is back as your host team again this year. Information, signups and donation links for everything are at the button. If you sign up before the 20th and raise $100, you will receive a pack of really COOL items to use during your dip.

IMPORTANT: When you sign up to plunge or donate, make sure to either do so under our team or make sure to indicate that you are Area 26. The area receives 50% of the proceeds, but ONLY for those that indicate their Area directly in the submission. The remainder of the funds go to operating such events as the State Games.

Condor David Updike is our very first signed up plunger for 2021...Way to break the ICE!! He is our Team Captain, please join his team...
SOVA Winter Combine

The 2021 Winter Combine will be kicking off soon, and registration is open to eligible teams. The rules for this round are different - only sports teams who agree to run practices and complete an 8-week Combine weekly workout are allowed to sign up, and registration totals are limited - like State Games, only so many teams are allowed from each area. Each traditional team must have at LEAST 4 athletes participating to score points or win awards.

To register, coaches (or Unified Partners) must contact Elaine Tilton (Fall/Winter Programs Director) and register by January 20th. At the direction of SOVA, all registrations must be submitted to the area director.
Information and program details are at the link at the button.
Stay Healthy, Stay Active!!
Revealing the Champion in all of us...
Upcoming Events
Winter Programs have begun (look for announcements).
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

Chuck Adkins-Blanch
Jeff Cogswell
Patrick DeLapp
Barb DeLisa
Bruce Fingerhut
Jay Hoffmeier
Veronica Jennings
Nancy Julia
Abby Lacy
Katherine Martin
Jeff McGiboney
Nancy Robbins
Bernie Woolfley
Area 26 Special Olympics |
Season Directors
Elaine Tilton, Fall/Winter

Nancy Julia, Spring/Summer

Barry Tilton

Volunteer Coordinator
Bruce Fingerhut

Athlete Representative
Jeff Cogswell

Medical Coordinator
Barb DeLisa

Senior Director, Potomac Region
Veronica Jennings
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