Monday, February 6, 2023
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Offering alternatives on the ice and on the sphere

By Jack Titter 
For The Sign 

Because the solar begins to set behind the hills overlooking the grass discipline, the air is crammed with that acquainted and comfy fall chill. The soccer gamers with their flags flowing round their waists get set for the following play on the sphere.  

The quarterback shouts “GO!” will get the ball, and appears downfield. He sees a receiver vast open and makes the throw. The ball sails by the air, simply out of attain of all of the defenders, and proper into the fingers of the receiver who stands within the middle of the top zone.  

“Landing!” is yelled as the remainder of the gamers on offense throw their arms up and have fun their excellent play. The gamers on protection even smile and chuckle and prepare for his or her likelihood to attain a landing of their very own.  

By now the solar has set and the tall stadium lights illuminate the sphere because the video games proceed into the evening with fixed cheers, laughs and jubilation from gamers, coaches, mother and father and cheerleaders. It is a typical Sunday evening for the SNAP Cougars flag soccer and cheer groups. 

SNAP (Particular Wants Athletes and Friends) was based in 2012 and partnered with the Ice Station Valencia to create the SNAP Flyers program with the purpose of educating particular wants athletes how you can skate and play hockey. This system has continued because the Ice Station grew to become The Dice below new possession of the town of Santa Clarita. 

In 2013 the SNAP Cougars flag soccer and cheer program was added after which the SNAP Roadrunners monitor and discipline program was fashioned in 2016. 

All of those applications have the identical purpose: to supply people with disabilities the chance to not solely take part, but in addition to excel at totally different sports activities and actions whereas additionally serving to them acquire confidence and abilities to make use of all through the remainder of their lives. 

Serving to the athletes obtain these objectives are head flag soccer coaches Rob Muir and Beckie Warloe. Throughout practices, Muir and Warloe trip from taking part in quarterback within the video games to educating particular person gamers how you can throw and catch. 

Warloe talked about her objectives with the athletes: “I all the time need them to have enjoyable and to present them a possibility to play a sport that folks may say they couldn’t or shouldn’t.” 

To be able to help the particular wants athletes through the video games, Muir and Warloe prefer to have at the very least one peer or neurotypical athlete on every workforce. That spot is stuffed by Muir, Warloe, or any volunteers who attend the practices. 

The practices additionally embrace the SNAP cheerleaders, who carry out routines and cheer on their fellow SNAP athletes. The SNAP cheerleaders are coached by volunteers from the West Ranch Excessive College cheer workforce. 

Typically there are sufficient gamers to arrange two fields to have two video games occurring on the identical time. Muir and Warloe be sure to create groups of gamers of comparable ability ranges to maintain the video games aggressive. 

The practices result in that feeling of taking part in yard soccer with a gaggle of mates, and the athletes benefit from the time spent making new mates and having fun with themselves. 

One athlete, Ben Kawasawa, mentioned, “I really like getting to hang around with all my mates and having enjoyable collectively. In addition to work, soccer is my favourite exercise and I actually look ahead to it.” 

One other athlete, Colbert Williams, mentioned, “It’s enjoyable attending to catch the ball and make touchdowns. Rob and Beckie are nice coaches and I’ve discovered so much from them.” 

Coach Beckie Warloe works on drills with among the SNAP athletes. Courtesy photograph.
The SNAP Cougars end each practice with a moment of silence to honor Demetrius Wayne Bird D Bird
The SNAP Cougars finish every apply with a second of silence to honor Demetrius Wayne Chicken (D Chicken). Courtesy photograph.

Having that have of yard soccer all the time brings individuals collectively and Muir is grateful that SNAP offers that chance. 

“I grew up taking part in soccer however had essentially the most enjoyable taking part in yard soccer with my mates. I wish to give these gamers that very same feeling and the identical reminiscences,” Muir mentioned. 

SNAP accepts people of any age and incapacity. One of many members of the SNAP advisory committee, Chandra Neal, has a son named Ryan who’s legally blind and autistic. 

Ryan participates in each flag soccer and ice hockey. Neal described how essential SNAP has been for her and Ryan. “I believe it’s essential for extra households to concentrate on SNAP. They supply an inclusive surroundings and I’m grateful that they supply an outlet of camaraderie between friends and particular wants athletes.” 

As a nonprofit group, SNAP depends on donations to supply gear, discipline leases and ice time for its applications. To be able to assist increase funds, SNAP hosts the annual Skate-A-Thon at The Dice. 

This 12 months’s Skate-A-Thon was held on Saturday, Nov. 5, and included an hour of steady skating by all contributors adopted by a raffle. The occasion was attended by metropolis Councilman Invoice Miranda and Mayor Laurene Weste. 

Miranda acknowledges the significance of nonprofits like SNAP. Concerning SNAP, Miranda mentioned, “It’s an enormous nonprofit and with out the good individuals behind it, these contributors may not have this opportunity to skate.” 

Miranda added, “Once you volunteer for a corporation like this, you’re benefiting every particular person participant. You’re taking children that may really feel that issues aren’t on their facet, and also you’re making them really feel nice about who they’re.” 

The SNAP Flyers will proceed their present season practices at The Dice till April. SNAP Cougars ended their season on Oct. 23 and start their subsequent season through the spring. 

The flag soccer workforce used to journey to San Diego to play in tournaments however hasn’t been in a position to for the previous couple of years as a result of COVID-19. For subsequent season, Muir and Warloe hope to return to San Diego and supply much more reminiscences for all of the SNAP athletes and their households. 

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