PEORIA, AZ — For nearly 14 years, Deven Taylor has been a Special Olympics athlete. "I've always kind of liked baseball a little bit and this is really fun," Taylor said. "I've made a bunch of friends doing this."
Taylor is one of more than 1,000 from across the state who came to Pioneer Community Park this weekend to play in one of the biggest competitions for Special Olympics Arizona, the fall games.
CEO of Special Olympics Arizona Jamie Heckerman says the competition gives athletes the confidence to succeed on and off the playing field.
"They've been told they don't have a voice and they don't have an opinion in their lives and what's going on around them and that's so not true," Heckerman said.
At Saturday's event, not only were there games, but Finish Line distributed 300 pairs of shoes to athletes.
"A lot of people think of Special Olympics as a one time a year track and field meet that our athletes go out," Heckerman said. "It's really evolved into so much more than that."
For Taylor, he has this message for those thinking about joining: "You'll get a great experience from like day one," he said. "I think you'll stick it out for as long as I have, or even past me."
For more information about Special Olympics Arizona, click here.