Sept. 30, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. -- Jeff Capel's and Sherri Coale's OU men's and women's hoops teams hosted a Special Olympics basketball clinic this morning at Lloyd Noble Center. More than 150 Special Olympics athletes from around the state signed up for the two-hour clinic that featured 15 stations worth of shooting, dribbling and passing drills, as well as locker room tours.
The annual event in Norman has become extremely popular. OU coaches, players and support staff were on hand to provide instruction and to offer friendship to this year's participants, who represented the Anadarko, Catoosa, Edmond, Guthrie, Jay, Oklahoma City, Putnam City and Weatherford districts.
"Every year we get inundated with (Special Olympics) coaches calling to ask if they can go to the clinic," said John Seals, sports director of Special Olympics Oklahoma. "The clinic is the yearly highlight for all of the Special Olympics OU fans because they receive coaching and praise from their heroes."
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Added Seals, "I also think it is a great benefit to the student-athletes at OU. They learn patience and the true meaning of sports. They have the opportunity to get to know the Special Olympics athletes and they will carry that with them throughout their careers. Once you have worked with the athletes, you will always have a much clearer understanding of people with intellectual disabilities."
Echoing Seals' thoughts, OU senior guard Cade Davis said he and his Sooners benefit tremendously from the interaction and are grateful for the opportunity to participate.
"It's great for them to be able to come here and have such a good time," said Davis. "For us, seeing their joy and excitement really helps us. Even with any disabilities they may have, they really appreciate what they have in life and appreciate life itself. It lets us know that as much as we've been given, we need to give back to the community. We're happy to do this."