“A piece of heaven” - Special Olympics Kentucky softball state tournament returns to Buchanon Park
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - After being cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Olympics Kentucky relaunched its annual state softball tournament this weekend at Michael O. Buchanon Park in Bowling Green.
Over 400 participants from all corners of the state participated in the friendly competitions. They were split into 25 different teams that competed throughout Friday and Saturday. The action also included a skills competition that measures player abilities with different softball skills.
Despite the different uniforms, divisions and competitive spirit amongst the athletes, they all gathered in Southern Kentucky for common uniting theme.
“We’re all about inclusion. When they come out here and compete, everyone goes home a winner,” Brislin said. “We’re all about our mission, and if the athletes play for that, then the inclusion comes with it.”
The athletes aren’t the only ones who achieve self-fulfillment and joy from the tournament. Coaches like Chris Fahlbush of Louisville say they’ve seen SOKY softball impact their lives. He began coaching the Area Seven Louisville Knights team last year. His 19-year old son, Josh, plays for the Knights.
For Chris, he’s says he’s also learned to check his ego when coaching the Knights.
“These kids, they don’t have no egos, they come out here to have fun. Thats what levels the playing field,” Chris Fahlbush said.
“That’s the pleasure of coaching.”
Josh is a man of few words. But when asked about what his eight years of softball experience meant to him, his face lights up with glee and emotion.
“I had a good time [at the tournament] it was fun. Batting, hitting and catching. It was a good time - I really enjoyed it,” Josh Fahlbush said.
But this weekend’s tournament was perhaps most personal to fans, parents and relatives of the different athletes. Hopkinsville-native Henry Snorton’s oldest son plays for a Christian County SOKY team. Snorton says his son “wakes up excited” to swing the bat - so excited beyond measure.
“I don’t think you can compare it. It’s a little piece of heaven on earth,” Snorton said. “You know, they try to be gentle with each other even when everyone is trying to win. But, they’re trying to win in a much better environment.”
The tournament fostered an environment that showed every athlete their peak potential - regardless of their abilities -win or lose.
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