The Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament has been sponsored by Sammons Financial Group since 2010. The company not only donates money to keep the event going, but lines the softball fields with volunteers each summer.
One of those volunteers loved the event so much, he became a coach for one of the Link Associates team. Rick King is a process improvement consultant for Sammons and has coached softball and baseball for 15 years.
“I coached baseball teams back in Boston with adults and with Special Olympics, so I decided to jump in here,” King explained. “It’s been great.”
All together, he has spent seven years as a Special Olympics coach — two with SOIA and five with Special Olympics in Boston.
King likes to help mix things up at practices, making sure the 30 or more athletes he sees on the field get the training they need to improve their skills. They conduct drills with the help of the Link staff in hitting, fielding and other key elements of the game.
“We push them to the edge of their comfort zone,” said King. “These athletes are quite inspirational. They’re always willing to take on more and give it their all.”
What King enjoys most is something the staff at Special Olympics Iowa hear often … he gets more out of the experience than he gives.
“My favorite thing is seeing how happy the athletes get,” King explains. “They are able to enjoy themselves and be with friends. We just have a good time.”
The Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament presented by Sammons Financial Group will be held Sat., Aug. 8 at the Prairie Reidge Sports Complex in Ankeny. The tournament will begin at 8:45 a.m. with the Opening Ceremony, featuring the ceremonial first pitch from Sammons.
The tournament is free and open to the public. The community is encouraged to come cheer on the athletes and enjoy a great day of softball.