Bryce Reynolds has been an athlete for as long as he can remember.
“I play football, basketball, bowling, field hockey,” Reynolds said.
He’s no stranger to competition, and typically trains four times a week. But on the weekend of Oct. 22, Reynolds will compete in his first Special Olympics New York Fall Games.
The games are going to be a first for many of the athletes.
The last fall games were held in 2015, and were eliminated from the Special Olympics New York budget because of financial constraints. This left around 19,000 fall sports athletes like Reynolds without a state-level competition.
Reynolds is competing in the softball tournament. The team he plays on, the South Glens Falls Diamond Dawgs, is coached by his parents.
“Seeing him from when he was younger until now, I glow,” said Aaron Reynolds, Bryce’s dad and coach. “Seeing him hit the ball, running to bases, you know, catching out there at second base.”
The family has raised close to $120,000 for the Special Olympics over the last nine years. They say all the hard work is well worth it because they see the joy playing sports brings to their son and the thousands of others participating, at no cost.
“It was all payed for. As far as the athletes and their families, they just went out and had a great time, and to see the faces on these athletes when they play and score, it’s priceless,” said Kim Reynolds, Bryce’s mom and coach.
The fall games were supposed to return last year, but couldn’t because of the pandemic. This year, 80% of participants must be vaccinated.
Athletes who are not must wear a mask and social distance.
After all the craziness everyone’s been through over the last year and a half with the pandemic, Bryce Reynolds has some advice for new athletes.
“Stand up for yourself, be aggressive out there and just have fun,” he said.