A game that meant much more than the score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It was like most any holiday tournament basketball game, with one small exception. No one was overly concerned about the score. The matchup pitted two teams from area Special Olympics.

Area 22 coach Tracy Smith says, "Anytime that they get out there and play and have a good time... it's not about winning for them, it's about being able to play the game."

The Blount Blazers were led by point guard Earl "The Pearl" Andoson who will tell you they lay it all on the line every game. "We put about 110%. We all do as well as we can."

But it wasn't just the players who enjoyed the game. Area 15 Director Cookie Crowson believes it was special for the fans as well, stating, "It was quite a treat to see them come out and give their best and do everything to excite the crowd, which I think they did."

The Blazers bring their own cheering section made up mostly of Maryville High school girls and boys basketball players. The school and community have embraced the team. MHS football coach George Quarles says he looks forward to it every year, "Maybe the best thing we do here all year. This is the second year we have done it. The crowd gets into it. It's just one of those things that makes you feel good."


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  • by Jeff on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM
    I just saw these comments. I'm honored to have done the story. Thank you for letting me be a part of the game. I greatly appreciate it. It was one of the most rewarding stories I have ever covered.
  • by gilbert Location: lenoir city on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:22 AM
    im gilbert one of the athleates that played in the game. i thank you all for what you have done and hope special olympics get back on track soon
  • by Hanna Location: Lenoir city on Jan 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM
    I'm Tracy's daughter and another coach for area 22 I just want to thank you guys for doing this story and sharing our passion and what our lives are all about!

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