WeissCrax: Hoops & Hugs

It was an emotional day for sports…

Seemingly a contrast of athletic sorts, united by one universal loving gesture…

On the national landscape was the game of GOLF and all its rich traditions…

Rich purses.

The world’s best players individually going head-to-head on one of the game’s most beautiful courses, in one of the most prestigious tournaments — on a warm and beautiful day in Augusta, Georgia.

It was, of course, The Masters

And it was Phil Mickelson’s date with destiny. Third times a charm, as they say. Yet, before putting on the coveted green winner’s jacket, he made one special stop, one simple heartfelt gesture…

Meanwhile across the country, it’s was all about the team sport of BASKETBALL. Amateur players of all abilities going head-to-head on hardwood, inside for a brand spankin’ new tournament with no tradition what-so-ever — on a cold and blustery day in Santa Barbara, California.

[nggallery id=21]It was, of course, Hoop it Up for Special Olympics …

As in the 1st Annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament Fundraiser.

25 teams. Men. Women. Young. 40-plus. And Special Olympians from near (SB) and far (Santa Clarita).

In fact, games were everywhere!  12 at a time – all half-court.

First team to 20 points or 20 minutes running time, whichever first. No win by 2.

Some played POWER games. FINESSE games. 3-Ball (actually 2-Ball since baskets 1 point vs. 2), etc.

And, of course, the Special Olympians on Center Court were giving a clinic on sport. On life.

It was all about just having fun…

And the many fans in the stands were all appreciated:

We enjoyed seeing our community turn-out and support … new players, volunteers and fans, who were introduced to our athletes and Special Olympics for the first time. It’s a win-win for everyone!” said Sara Spataro, Regional Director, Special Olympics-Santa Barbara:

And about that one universal gesture mentioned earlier….

It was, of course, a hug.

For Mickelson – it was the long embrace with his breast cancer-stricken wife Amy, after walking off the 18th Green – that touched America’s heart. The tear streaking down his cheek powerfully demonstrated how love endures the challenges of life.

Same thing at the ThunderDome….

All the hi-fives, fist-bumps and cheerful connections throughout the day added up to a “community group-hug” for our Special Olympians and embracing the simple love, beauty and joy these spirited athletes bring to our lives everyday.

And especially today on Sunday — a day when love truly won out…

For a complete listing of Hoop it Up winners – please visit www.sosc.org/santabarbara

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Randy Weiss WeissCrax appears regularly at Presidiosports.com.