Alex Dare has been dribbling since age 5. The Athenian School junior and Owls varsity point guard loves basketball so much that he wanted to share his passion with a group of special athletes.
"All my life I've been around basketball my whole family loves sports," Alex said, "so we got involved in Special Olympics when I was in sixth grade and really liked helping out the kids."
Alex volunteers with the Tri-Valley Rockets team in Pleasanton, where he coaches bowling and assistant coaches basketball. When the time came for Alex to do a community service project for school, he couldn't think of a better cause to dedicate his time to.
After months of planning, Alex held a 15-team basketball tournament to benefit Special Olympics of Northern California on Sunday, Feb. 13. The tournament drew 150 athletes from teams across the region, including the Contra Costa Tomahawks, Richmond Buffalos and Mt. Diablo Warriors.
"The idea for this event really branched off seeing excitement on their faces every week and how much they loved playing basketball," he said.
The six-hour tournament, multi-skill level tournament was held in Athenian's two gyms and hosted 16 games. After a fierce battle with the Hayward Hurricanes, the Tomahawks won the gold medal by three points.
"I've played in lots of tournaments but not with Special Olympics," said 17-year-old Andrew Daley, who plays with the Tomahawks. " Just playing with all types of people and all types of needs means a lot to me."
Andrew said it is also important to raise money so all athletes can do sports. " Some of these athletes didn't play in high school like I can."
The tournament garnered over $4,000 in donations and corporate sponsors as well as $830 from an iPad raffle, Alex said.
"It's not only raising money, but it puts a smile on athletes faces. The money that we raised goes to equipment, future events and gym time so these kids can play the sport that they love to do," he said.