Special Olympics Airdrie’s (SOA) first Athlete of the Month award of the new decade was handed out to an ecstatic recipient Jan. 29, at the association’s final basketball practice of the 2019-20 season.
Pamela, whose last name was asked not be published, was thrilled to receive the award at the weekly practice at Ralph McCall School.
“I’m very excited – I was really surprised,” she said, adding her work ethic is likely what led to the award.
Pamela, who has played basketball for two years, said her favourite part of the game is when she has the ball.
“I like to shoot, and I like being around my friends,” she said.
A proud observer at the Jan. 29 practice and award ceremony was Pamela’s younger sister Emily, who also helps coach the program.
“It’s very exciting for her – she works really hard and is always excited to come to basketball to play with her friends and get some exercise,” she said.
Along with basketball, Pamela participates in SOA’s floor hockey program in the winter and softball in the summer. She was on the Airdrie floor hockey team that participated in a tournament in Edmonton Feb. 1.
“I’m going on the bus to Edmonton for the first time,” she said prior to the tourney, with palpable excitement.
Tammy Paulence, head coach of SOA’s basketball program, said the 23-year-old’s positive attitude and dedication to the program made her an easy choice for the monthly honour.
“She’s just a lovely player – she loves all her teammates and she’s always leading our warm-ups, telling us when we’re doing it right or wrong,” said Paulence, who is also the head coach of the George McDougall Mustangs’ junior varsity girls’ basketball team. “She’s a really good player, and a team player.”
Sixteen athletes participated in SOA’s basketball practices this season, held each Wednesday evening from early October 2019 to late January. According to Paulence, Pamela was at every session.
“She really doesn’t like to miss [the practices],” she said. “I love her commitment to the team, that she likes to involve all the players, and makes sure everyone feels included.”