Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Alaina & Angelanette

#50for50: Volume 7
▪️ Alaina Neubauer & Angelanette Arrubla
▪️ Monroe, NY & Easton, PA
▪️ DeSales University

Alaina: “We learned about this in education history. In the past, the way that people with intellectual disabilities or physical disabilities were treated was crazy. Why would we treat people that way? … I think it’s important to realize that we’re all different but we’re all special and we all have something to offer this world. Whether that be a smile that could make someone’s day, or helping an athlete across a finish line. I think it’s important to realize that we have to give what we take from the world and this event [Eastern Fall Sectional] allows us to give and take and I think that’s an amazing thing. … I work at Nike for my summer job and one of the sayings is basically, “sports for everyone.” Sports has taught me so much in my life and I think that it does the same for people with intellectual disabilities. I think it’s important to realize that sports brings us all together as one human person. …  DeSales is a small campus. I love that we host Special Olympics. I think, for a campus where we pride ourselves on holding the door for each other, it’s amazing how we’ve become a community for this event.”

Angelanette: “I used to do theater in high school. We had someone with an intellectual disability in all of our shows. We would interact and we were so close to each other. But I had never heard of Special Olympics [before I got to DeSales]. So once I got here, I decided I wanted to join. And now I want to get my Masters in Special Education because of these experiences.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Tommy Perrotti

#50for50: Volume 6
▪️ Tommy Perrotti
▪️ 21 years old
▪️ Lehigh County

“I’ll never forget this. I was doing security last year and my coach called me and said, ‘We’re ready to go.’ So I went to the bathroom and changed from khakis to shin guards in a matter of five minutes. That’s something I’ll never forget. … I’m a senior Sport Management major here at DeSales. It’s my second year doing Special Olympics here at the University. Last year, I was on the Transportation & Security committee and Lehigh’s Unified soccer coach and his son were on it as well. He asked if anyone had played soccer before and I said I played for about 15 years or so. … So I started practicing. I fell in love with the team right away as soon as I got to meet them. Playing for so long and not being able to play in college, it meant a lot to me to be able to help the team out. It meant a lot to be able to be on a team again. I’ve gone to Hershey with the team, I’ve gone to Villanova. Special Olympics has meant a lot to me. … It’s definitely a great opportunity, especially if you enjoy sports and if you want to get involved in a different way rather than just doing paperwork or spreadsheets or something like that. It’s more meaningful. You’re sitting with the team. You’re on the bus rides. You’re getting to learn more about your teammates’ lives and why they’re here and why they wanted to play. And why they want to go out every day and do their best. As a Unified partner, I was able to have a lot of opportunities in life, but the athletes, they had to fight for them.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Claire Crego

#50for50: Volume 5
▪️ Claire Crego
▪️ 36 years old
▪️ Area M

“Because I know I’m strong. I know I’m really strong, so I thought that I should try powerlifting. I had done volleyball for a couple of years before this and this is my first Central Fall Sectional for powerlifting. I loved it. I didn’t get to go to Olympic Village, but I did get to go there other years and overall it was really cool. … I’m the only girl in Area M who does powerlifitng, so I keep the guys in line. The first time I ever tried it, I think I lifted 75 kg and I can bench press 95 kg. Today I deadlifted 250. Overall, it was a little easy and a little hard to get the form down. It was a little bit of both. … I feel really good about it. I feel really upbeat and proud. I’m from Carlisle, so I have to represent Area M. [Being in Special Olympics] is the best because it means I get to meet other people in different counties and I get to see other women or other people, men and women, compete in powerlifting.”

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Craig Maurer

#50for50: Volume 4
▪️ Craig Maurer
▪️ 66 years old
▪️ Bethlehem City

“I’m from Easton and I did powerlifting. I lived my whole life in Easton. I’ve been doing Special Olympics for 40 years. But I’m retired now. My last competition was here [at the 2019 Eastern Fall Sectional at DeSales University]. I can’t do it anymore, so I’m retired. Before that, I had to quit swimming and I quit gym because I couldn’t reach the rings anymore. So then I did powerlifting. … Mom made me start it. She said, ‘You start lifting,’ and I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ It’s good. It keeps me healthy. That’s why I got muscles.”

Note: Prior to his retirement, Craig accomplished just about everything a Special Olympics Pennsylvania athlete could hope to accomplish. He represented Special Olympics USA powerlifting at the 2010 World Games in Athens (and was the oldest member of the delegation), he represent Special Olympics Pennsylvania gymnastics at the 2006 USA Games in Iowa and he was inducted into the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Hall of Fame in 2012.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: Jessica Hott

#50for50: Volume 3
▪️ Jessica Hott
▪️ 28 years old
▪️ Bedford County

“I just feel like myself when I run. I feel a lot better. If I skip a few days, I feel like ‘blah.’ I feel like I’m missing out on something. I’ve always trained myself to do it. I’ve done 5Ks for years. In a way, I was a loner, but I just did it for fun. I just went my own way. But when I joined Special Olympics, I got to meet new people and meet coaches who can help you. I’m in better shape now because of it. I’ve met a lot of friends. … Last year was my first year with mini javelin and the first time I competed at Summer Games for track. Before that [at the Central Spring Sectional] I won four gold. It’s exciting, but I don’t brag, really. I just get what I get. … I had always done softball since I joined Special Olympics in 2010 and always loved softball even before that. My sister Liz played [softball] and I take after her. She lives in State College now, but she comes to watch me play. I have made so many friends through Special Olympics. Like Christa and Gina. And Michael and Roland. We go bowling, we go to the movies. … I have a cat, a dog and three horses. I love taking care of them, helping clean the stalls and watching after them. And I also help my mom out in her store in Bedford. Tomorrow I’ll be doing another 5K. I just love to run.”