Thousands of Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners were smiling right through a weekend of competition at the Unified Sports Holiday Classic.
Sunday was a good day for a lot of people including Dexter Braatz from Lisbon. "Lot of fun, people to see, you get to hang out with friends," said Braatz. "I have my own bowling ball, my own bowling shoes that have my name on them."
Bowl was the activity of choice for Dexter and teammates giving their all at Bowlero in Milford.
"Bowling is a great sport because everybody can do it," said Debbie Horne, Director of Communications and Marketing at Special Olympics Connecticut. "Everybody has fun doing it. It brings athletes of all abilities together," said Horne.
More than 2,400 athletes and their unified partners, which are their teammates without intellectual disabilities, have practiced together for weeks - in bowling, basketball, volleyball and powerlifting - all leading up to this weekend.
"I think I'm just going to try my best and see what happens," said Jack from Trumbull, who has made many friend through this program. "They're my best friends," he said. "It was great. I was so happy."
NBC Connecticut is proud to have partnered with Special Olympics West Hartford.
"We just get so much out of it," said Chief Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan, who was among those representing the team.
"You really get to grow close with the athletes and you form friendships that are really meaningful and rewarding," Hanrahan said.
Special Olympics Connecticut said more than five hundred coaches and eight hundred volunteers were helping out at events around New Haven County this weekend.
For more information and to find out about volunteer opportunities, visit www.soct.org.