Coach Ron Masson hoped Wednesday night’s practice would make his basketball team faster and better coordinated.
“We’re directing them to do plays they’ve never done before and a lot more exercise,” said Masson.
He’s trained his players for about a year, but now the pressure is on. In about three weeks, the team will play on a national stage. They’re trying for gold at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey.
The competition only swings around every four years and only 10 basketball players are chosen for team Connecticut.
Ryan Breedlove of Cromwell is very happy he made the cut.
“It’s going to an exciting event. It’s new. I’m all for it,” Breedlove said.
The squad is special to the Special Olympics, called a “Unified Team.” It’s a mix of athletes with and without disabilities.
“It’s experience that we’re looking forward to because I’ve never done it before and they’re telling us to go just as hard as we’re playing anybody else, so it’s something that we’re looking forward to,” said Rodney Myers, a player.
As the team get closer and closer to their big day, they’re ironing out mistakes, but also working on supporting each other.
In the end, they’re proud just to make it to the USA Games.
“A remembrance in my life, a look back on what I accomplished. You know, tell my kids, if I have kids down the road, that was me, that was your father,” said Breedlove.
The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games kick off June 14. Team Connecticut will also be sending squads for many other sports.