Hey Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017, The El Cajon Gulls are coming your way...and they're coming to win!

Hey Special Olympics World Winter Games Austria 2017, The El Cajon Gulls are coming your way...and they're coming to win!

Photo credits: Freddie B. Photography™ 

    On March 13th, the El Cajon Gulls Special Olympics hockey team from Southern California will be flying into Vienna to compete in the Special Olympic World Winter Games Austria 2017, and they're here to win!  To see proof of this, all one has to do is to simply view thier photos I captured of them at a recent photo shoot for as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words."   

     On February 25th, I had the pleasure of meeting the coaches and the team at my photo shoot with them near their hometown in sunny Southern California.  Meeting the team for the first time reminded me of a few of the reasons I take such pleasure and am inspired beyond words when covering Special Olympic events: their level of joy and carefree happiness was abundant, and an example of how we all could try better to let go of the everyday minor nuisances that cause us undue stress...they simply enjoy life.  The photo shoot was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and outright fun and an eargerness by the athletes to take their turn in front of the camera so they could, "put on their game face."  The looks on the faces of the athletes when I showed them their images were priceless.: that in of itself makes all the hours we as photographers put into our work worth the effort beyond measure.

     The team is lead by a dedicated trio of coaches: Head coach Rodney Hurn and assistant coaches Kimberly Hurn and Mark Martindale. Coaches left to right: Mark Martindale, Kimberly Hurn, and Rodney Hurn Coach Rodney started coaching the team about 7 years ago, has been head coach for the last five, and helped the team grow from 15 players to 30.  Most of the members of the team have been playing for 7-10 years and since the team was formed, they have taken 20 gold medals and 3-4 silver medals; I am sure they'll add to the list in Austria.  Many of the team have also played in other sports to include basketball, track, bowling, swimming, golf, and soccer, but if you were to ask the team, most would admit hockey is their favorite just as would Coach Rodney as he played ice hockey growing up.

     Coach Rodney told me the Special Olympics has provided these athletes experiences they may have not otherwise had, such as practicing hockey with the Castleton University ice hockey team in the state of Vermont and playing basketball with the famous Harlem Globetrotters.  Coach Rodney related to me the team is one big family and above all else, going to the Special Olympic World Games has always been a dream of theirs.  As in all Olympic events, there are medals to be won and athletes to be competed against but Coach Rodney teaches his team not focus on the scoreboard but on having fun....that is his #1 rule.

     The El Cajon hockey team in one of the teams I will be covering during the Special Olympic World Winter Games Austria 2017, and I for one am excited to witness firsthand the inspiration, courage, and perservence of the athletes and to share all I can with you through my stories and imagery...so stay tuned!

The El Cajon GullsCoach Rodney HurnCoach Kimberly HurnCoach Mark MartindaleCasey Lucore

Charles MartindaleChristopher HurnHaley JamesJessica MolandJohn RazoJordan BradleyJordan PfauthRyan WoodThomas SelbieThomas SelbieZachary Wine

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Written by: Fred Neil Bommer II (Freddie B. of Freddie B. Photography) See other articles by Fred Neil Bommer II (Freddie B. of Freddie B. Photography)
About the Author:

     
Freddie B.Fred Neil Bommer II, aka Freddie B., was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in July 2015 after he recently discovered his adult son was suspected of having it, then researching it himself, which solved his lifelong mystery about why he was the way he was and was so different from most others.  But in spite of the life’s challenges and struggles Freddie B. experienced as an "Aspie" throughout his life, he discovered an "escape" early on--photography, followed by a passion for writing. 

      In early 2015, Freddie B. put his love and passion of photography to use by becoming a photographer for Specialneeds.com, ultimately covering the nine days of the Special Olympic World Games LA 2015 in the latter part of July as a credentialed media photographer.  Then a few months later, Freddie B. was able to add his love and passion for writing to the mix by becoming a credentialed photojournalist for Specialneeds.com.

     Freddie B. is a member of the Professional Photographer's of America Assn. (PPA), the National Press Photographers Assn. (NPPA), Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), National Sports Media Association (NSMA), and aspires to be a freelance photojournalist traveling abroad beginning in early 2017.

     To read more about Freddie B. and view samples of his photographic work, including that of the Special Olympic World Games LA2015 (Special Olympic World Games LA 2015 Commemorative Special Edition Magazine) and other Special Olympic events he has covered, please visit his web page at www.freddiebphotography.com.., his Facebook page @Freddie B. Photography, and his Instagram profile: #FreddieBPhotography.

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