February 2023 Change Makers
Athlete of the Month
Mason first got involved with Special Olympics Colorado 6 years ago. He was attending Prairie View High School at the time and began participating in the Unified program at Brighton High School with his brother, Colton. Currently, Mason competes in basketball, flag football, volleyball, soccer and eSports.
Mason said he loves getting to do the things he loves with Special Olympics Colorado. “My brother and I spend a lot of time together and it’s nice being around other people at practices, games and events,” he explained.
Mason recently got involved with eSports through Special Olympics and has already accomplished so much in the last couple of years. “My cousin and I slayed our division in Rocket League,” said Mason. “My cousin lives in Iowa, so it was really cool that we could do this together.”
Because Mason and his cousin won the Rocket League tournament, they received a trip to Los Angeles for the release of PGA 2K23 at Top Golf. There, they met WWE wrestlers Dolf Ziggler and Baron Corbin. “Also, we met some golf pros and a TikTok influencer that can hit a ball with 1 hand,” exclaimed Mason.
Mason told us that the possibilities eSports brings to the table when it comes to inclusion are huge. “Friends and family members can cheer for us just like they would at a game or on the field or court. Also, gaming doesn’t have the outside ‘noise’ to interfere with my performance and allows me to excel,” he said.
When he’s not competing in sports or eSports, Mason is part of the Youth Activation Committee (YAC)where he enjoys helping plan and set up for special events like the Youth Summit and Camp Shriver. He was a leader in Student Government when he was in high school, so he wanted to take that experience and bring it to YAC.
Overall, Mason said Special Olympics Colorado has made him feel very included. “It’s everyone together, doing something,” Mason said. “SOCO has helped me and I’m in a place to help others that may have been through what I’ve been through. I feel very blessed to be a part of SOCO!”
Congratulations on being recognized as the February Athlete of the Month, Mason!!
Coach of the Month
Mark has been a Special Olympics Colorado coach for 18 years. He initially got involved when his son, Cody, joined the Cherry Creek Alpine Racing Team in 2005. Mark followed him and began coaching ski racing that same year. In addition to skiing, he now coaches snowboarding as well.
Mark said his favorite memories with Special Olympics Colorado is watching many of his athletes not only compete in the Special Olympics program but also successfully train and compete with their high school, college, USSA and USASA teams. He explained that the Special Olympics program facilitated their full inclusion into the United States ski and snowboard racing community.
Mark told us he also enjoys coaching in the SOCO ski and snowboard racing program because he gets to see the joy and enthusiasm of the athletes at all levels as they improve their racing skills and have fun on the mountain.
Thank you, Mark, for your dedication these last 18 years and congratulations on being recognized as the February Coach of the Month!