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:: THE SPOKE SPOTLIGHT ::
Paying It Forward
Christopher Di Virgilio

Meeting the 2017 S`NS Junior Athlete of the Year


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Athletes participate in a basketball clinic at UCLA in Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Courtney Verrill)

Angel City Games, Day 1

Online Exclusive posted Friday, June 23, 2017 - 8:13pm

UCLA is currently being taken over by hundreds of athletes.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus was flooded with more than 200 athletes on Friday, June 23. Co-founders Clayton French and his son, Ezra, started Angel City Sports in 2013 and two years later the Angel City Games became a very successful event with over 150 participating athletes. Now, the games are on their third year and the number of athletes has only increased. Athletes can participate in track and field, basketball, archery, tennis and for the first time this year, swimming.

The four-day event allows athletes to participate in a number of different sports and clinics. Previously, the event was only two days and had fewer sports to participate in. Fortunately, the event has grown tremendously, both in sports and athletes. Throughout the year, Angel City Sports host clinics to introduce new sports to athletes and help them gain the knowledge and proper training.


Co-director, Michael Garafola leads the crowd of athletes during the opening ceremony. (Photo by Courtney Verrill)

Clayton and Ezra started Angel City Sports when they realized how their local community lacked opportunity in the adaptive sports community. Ezra is an athlete who participates in multiple sports, such as swimming and track and field. 

Day one of the games consisted of track and field, tennis and basketball clinics, as well as basketball scrimmages that allowed the athletes to put their new skills to work.

“We worked on skills like passing, shooting and dribbling. Most of all, we just had a lot of fun,” Paralympian and basketball clinic coach, Matt Scott, says. “The kids had a lot of energy and they were putting a lot of effort into it. When you do this kind of coaching it’s really easy because the kids wanted to be there and they wanted to learn. It was overall a really good time.”

Celebrities, such as actor Michael Peña and retired NBA player, Tracy Murray, showed up to the clinics to help coach and play with the athletes. Each year they host a celebrity basketball game where professional athletes and Hollywood actors come and play wheelchair basketball against a team. This year, the celebrity game will take place on Saturday, June 24.

The opening ceremony filled the tracks with athletes that were eager to participate. Athletes of all ages smiled and chanted as they walked the track and celebrated the official opening of the games.

“When I say angel you say city. Angel! City!” 

The Angel City Games will continue throughout the rest of the weekend with more clinics and intense competitions. 

 

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Angel City Games, Day 1

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