Truly special

A team from Eatonville competed with distinction in this year's Special Olympics regional track meet, which leads to the question: What's behind the local group's success? The Eatonville Cruisers Special Olympics team had gold, silver and bronze medalists in the regional event in April at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma, and also sent a delegation to the Special Olympics state Summer Games at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in May for more winning efforts. As a nationwide organization, Special Olympics helps individuals with disabilities overcome barriers, break stereotypes and strive for personal accomplishments on the playing field and in life. To find out more about how the local program pursues those goals, The Dispatch talked to Tina Schmidt, one of the Eatonville coaches. Dispatch: How many participants GÇô athletes, families and volunteers GÇô does the Eatonville program have? Schmidt: Eleven athletes, two coaches, three adult volunteers and six teen volunteers. Dispatch: What are some of your Special Olympians' ages, and where do they come from--Eatonville School District alone, or other areas, too? Schmidt: The ages are 8 years old and up. Currently, two-thirds of our athletes are over age 21. They're from the greater Eatonville area, including Elbe and Ashford. We're a community team, not affiliated directly with Eatonville School District. However, the district and the superintendent do support us. Dispatch: How much time goes into practices, meetings, etc.? Schmidt: Practice depends on the sport. Bowling is once a week, two hours per week. Basketball is two times a week, four hours a week. Track GÇô three times a week, six hours a week. Regional events are once per sport season, all day for one day. The state Summer Games is once a year for three full days, always the weekend after Memorial Day weekend. Dispatch: What's the contact information for people who want to get involved? Schmidt: The Facebook page is Eatonville Special Olympics. The coaches are me at 253-677-2479 and TraciAnn Godwin at 253-312-7644.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment