We are extremely proud to find out and announce that Kaylee Clark, one of the campers at the Team Awesome Basketball Leadership Academy in 2017 (TABLA) and a player for Roosevelt High School’s Unified Basketball Team, has been selected to compete in the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games from July 1-6, 2018. The events will be held in arena throughout Seattle, including at the University of Washington, and 3,500 Special Olympics athletes from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 1,000 coaches, 10,000 family members, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 50,000 spectators will take part in this premier national sports competition, showcasing the abilities of athletes with intellectual disability and the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sport.
Kaylee was an integral member of our TABLA week, playing most days with a broken league for Team Stitch, led by Junior Counselor Mady Burdett of Whitman College. Not only that, but Kaylee’s commitment to the sport, to bettering herself, redefined what it meant to be early each day to camp. Mady says, “I remember one day after camp she came up to me and asked if I could come in at 7 AM to help work with her on her shot. As she was asking, I noticed that she had one of the tips I had given to her written on her arm. Of course I said yes, but that’s when I realized how dedicated she is as a player of the game and how much of an impact I was making on her life.”
Here’s Kaylee, on her love for basketball, the opportunity to compete at a global event, and her time at TABLA.
Q: When did you start playing basketball? Who do you currently play for?
A: I started playing basketball when I was in 6th grade. I play on our unified basketball team at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.
Q: For people who are unfamiliar with the Special Olympics, can you tell us a little more about it?
A: Unified is where people come together no matter how different and play on the same team. We even play with deaf kids. Special Olympics is were people from all over the world come together to compete. I will be playing for Roosevelt.
Q: How did you get selected to compete?
A: I got selected because this year they’re adding a girls’ All-City team.
Q: What’s the most exciting aspect for you in the opportunity to play in the Special Olympics?
A: I am excited to meet new people and have this experience.
Q: Do you play any other sports? What is it about basketball that you love?
A: I don’t play any other sports, but I am an assistant coach for soccer. What I love about basketball is meeting new people on the court and having fun while winning.
Q: How has attending TABLA (Team Awesome Basketball Leadership Academy) this past year contributed to your basketball and/or life experiences?
A: When I went to TABLA I learned some bonding and leadership skills that really helped bring my team together.
The TABLA staff would like to take the time to thank all of our sponsors, donors, and the women and girls’ who participated at our Awesome 3-on-3 Jam for helping us raise money to support scholarships to girls like Kaylee. We are extremely excited for TABLA 2018, and will release the schedule as soon as the WNBA publishes theirs!