This month’s athlete feature is Patrick! He has been playing tennis with SPT for 8 years! When asked his favorite part of SPT he said, “It’s not all about tennis but instead you get to hang out with people, get to know them, and become friends.” He has enjoyed getting to know people and creating a solid group of friends. He loves all the volunteers and coaches and how positive they are with every athlete. He loves how much a family Special Pops is and how everyone works hard but also supports one another.
Patrick loves playing with his unified partner, Lisa Littleton, who drives down from Greenville, SC to play with him in the Fall Classic and Belton, SC tournaments every year. They have built a great partnership on the court and an even better friendship off the court! Patrick’s favorite memories with SPT involved some close victories! He recalled one match at the Special Olympics Georgia Games where he was down a set and came back to win the second set and the tie breaker to take home the GOLD MEDAL! He loves playing in close matches because they are challenging, and he can show his determination!
Off the tennis courts, Patrick is very busy! He has performed in ten theatrical programs with the Marcus Jewish Community Center. Each year, they perform a musical that defies stereotypes. In 2017, several of the Habima performers were invited to make a short film titled “That was Awesome!” This film is about a floor hockey team of adults with special needs who stood up for themselves in the game of their lives. Patrick played the role of Randy which can be found here (https://youtu.be/CwEqVgxFDro). He also enjoys video games, listening to music, craft beers, and skiing! Patrick also loves tree work and has an uncanny ability to notice when trees are dying before anyone else. He loves watching the process of a tree being removed and can even identify the sounds of the chain saws from a long distance away.
When asked if he would recommend SPT to others, he said, “ABSOLUTELY! SPT is a great place to learn about tennis and to learn how to be a part of a team. It is a great place to meet different people and make friends. It is also good exercise!”
In the future, Patrick’s goal is to be the top male tennis player in Special Olympics. He also has a goal to be able to live by himself and take care of and provide for himself. If he could play tennis with anyone, he picked Rodger Federer because he is so kind, loves his fans, and is a good sportsman. He is one of Patrick’s biggest role models because he works hard and stays positive on the tennis court.
We spoke to Patrick’s parents about their experiences with SPT. They love that SPT has given Patrick a lot of self-confidence and that he has learned if he works hard and sticks with it, then he can gain rewards. They love to see him enjoy something that he benefits from both socially and athletically. They love everyone involved with SPT and the unbelievable volunteers.
Jim Hamm Quote:
Patrick is one of the most motivated athletes we have in SPT programs. It is inspiring to watch how he challenges himself to be a better tennis player and also a better person. He always gives his best effort. Regardless of the results of his tennis play, he loves and celebrates his victories; but he takes his losses and challenges himself to get better by building on his strengths and working on his weaknesses. His work ethic is top notch. He takes great pride in being the best version of himself both on and off the court! We know that if Patrick is competing that his devoted Mom, Denise, will be nearby with camera taking many pictures of our athletes in action!!!