Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: David Welsh

#50for50: Volume 49
▪️ David Welsh
▪️ 35 years old
▪️ Montgomery County

“A friend of mine was very much involved with Special Olympics, so I was curious about it and my mom signed me up in Fall 2001. Now, it didn’t just start out as ice skating. The first sport I participated in was volleyball. And basketball and softball as well. But then in the fall of 2006, I was busy dealing with my last semester at Delaware County Community College, so I dropped all those sports with the exception of figure skating. Ever since then I’ve been focused primarily on figure skating. … I just remember the more years I went along with it the more confident I became with my performances and the more confidence my coaches had in me. At first, oh yeah, it was difficult. I had never skated before. It was always difficult just keeping my balance on the ice. Every year subsequently my head coach, Keith, would just keep giving me bigger and newer things to practice on the ice. Things he feels would greatly benefit me as an ice skating performer. Mainly, they’re things that require me to do 180-degree turns on one foot or anything in which, it’s very challenging, that challenges my comfortability on the ice. Knowing Keith, he’s really been pushing me and I know that he’s doing so because he knows how much more I can excel on the ice. … My first state tournament occurred in 2003. That year I was a senior in high school. Every subsequent state tournament, as far as ice skating was concerned, I couldn’t go to it either because I was in college at the time or just because I couldn’t take the time off from work. It’s also because I’m involved with a lot of community theater performances, so the rehearsals may have conflicted. But in 2015 Keith really wanted me to come back to the state tournaments. He called my mom to have her convince me to come back. So I came back. And I went there and I got the gold medal and apparently so many people were proud of me. One of them was my Township Commissioner and I got a Township Proclamation as a result of that accomplishment. I went back every subsequent year and it just made me realize how proud I am to be a part of something bigger than myself. … In the summer of ’04, my mom signed me up for a theater day camp at Archbishop Carroll High School. The high school I went to at that time didn’t have a drama program. The experience was very new to me. I tried it and I loved it and it’s one of those things I’ve kept doing every year since because of how fun it has been. … Both Keith and I have incorporated a lot of what I use in community theater into my performance on the rink. Any choreography move that I may have learned on the stage or seen in another stage performance, we use it. … The biggest role I had to tackle was the Cowardly Lion in a one-act performance of the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ I had to do a lot of memorizing my lines. It was a big role. It was just a matter of remembering my lines and incorporating them onto the stage. It gives me an outlet to be creative, to perform. … For work, I’m a lab technician at a neurobiology lab at St. Joseph’s University. I make sure everything is ready for the lab students, make sure we have a clean environment. Because we’re prone to several inspections during the year. We had two surprise federal inspections this past week and we passed both of them. I’ve been at that job seven years and I very much so like it. … As great as it is to be part of figure skating, it’s a lot more awesome experience just to be a part of Special Olympics in and of itself. Just because when we get together during these various state tournaments, we compete at our own individual levels but once we’re off the rink or the court or whatever it is, that competitive attitude is left there at the rink and we can be as friendly as we can.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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