Chris Stroud will represent Iredell County in the U.S. Special Olympics this summer.
Local athlete headed to Seattle for U.S. Special Olympics
BY HALEY JONES
Iredell County resident Chase Stroud has been selected to represent North Carolina in the Special Olympics USA Games, which will be held in Seattle in July.
Chase, 20, will be on the N.C. bocce team.
“Chase Stroud works hard, plays hard, and is a very kind and supportive teammate,” said Richard Griggs, Statesville Recreation and Parks program director. “He embodies the best characteristics of what every athlete should strive to possess.”
Stroud is proud to represent his home state and hopes to represent North Carolina in the best possible way.
“I feel really excited to represent my home state, but I’m pretty nervous because I want to do well and make everyone happy,” Chase said. “I am looking forward to seeing all the sites in Seattle and getting to spend more time with my coach and teammates.”
Stroud has been involved with the Special Olympics for two years. The competition has added a new depth of meaning to his life, according to his mother, Susan Stroud.
“He has met so many new friends and realized how important the support they provide to one another can be,” Susan said. “Our family now plans around his social calendar and it is wonderful and fulfilling to see how excited he is to have plans to practice, prepare and compete with this new circle of friends.”
Bocce: A game of strategy
Bocce is a game of Italian origin. The goal is to roll a bocce ball down a narrow green closest to the target ball. Next to soccer and golf, bocce is the third most participated sport in the world.
Chase discovered the game when he was invited to try the sport by two of Iredell County’s bocce coaches, Tammy Cromie-Wilkins and Cindy Snook.
“I’ve always liked to play corn hole and this sport was the most like that,” Stroud said.
Normally, Chase would be playing on the Iredell 3-on-3 basketball team, a sport that his basketball coach, Kaylyn Chapman, says Stroud never fails to be his absolute best at.
“Chase is an athlete who has great composure, sportsmanship, and gives 110 percent while playing. At every practice, I can expect him to give the best he has for the team,” said Chapman, the assistant facility manager of the Statesville Fitness & Activity Center. “Much like his performance on the court, Chase will go out of his way to help anyone. As a result, his efforts to capitalize in performances have increased substantially.”
Because the sport was not competing at the state level this year, Chase decided to focus his attention on bocce.
“My coach, Cindy, helped me over the summer and taught me about the strategies other players have and that is when I really got hooked on the game,” he said.
Chase remembers losing one round in the state competition and becoming disenchanted.Yet, after some encouragement, he returned the next day to win the remaining games.
“My favorite part of bocce is trying to figure out other players’ strategies,” he said. “Also, I like the way the game can turn around in just one roll of the bocce ball. It is never over until it’s over. It is a game that doesn’t have to be rushed and I can play at my own pace.”
Training for Seattle
Chase attended a training camp in Raleigh with other N.C. team athletes, in which the individuals learned about healthy diets, tracking exercise, and getting in shape.
“We will practice every chance we get to prepare for July,” said Chase, who has several friends to practice the sport with. “Playing different people helps me use different strategies and get better.”
So what’s Stroud’s strategy to prepare for the summer games?
“Eat better, move more and practice all I can.”
The best part of Special Olympics
Chase Surges anyone who is thinking about becoming involved with Special Olympics to know that the organization is a lot of fun. Being involved in Special Olympics, according to Stroud, encourages travel and trying different sports. But the best part, he said, is making new friends who support one another.
“His new friends, athletes and coaches have helped him realize that even though they may have bad days and times when they can’t always participate, they can count on one another for encouragement and support,” his mother said. “They encourage each other to keep trying, be brave and never give up.”
Special Olympics has helped him gain self-confidence, Susan added.
“Special Olympics makes a big difference in so many people’s lives,” Chase concluded.
And Chase is not alone in this realization.
“He is a very caring, happy person who loves making jokes and cutting up,” said basketball coach Chapman. “He always has a smile on his face and I have no doubt he will be a great representative for Iredell County Special Olympics in the (USA Games.”
Help send Chase Stroud to Seattle
A First Giving Page has been set up for Chase at https://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/chase-strou...
So far, $560 of the $2,000 needed has been raised through this page. Griggs hopes that additional donors will contribute towards this effort.
“It was no surprise to us when Chase was selected by Special Olympics North Carolina to represent our state at the Special Olympics USA Games,” said Griggs. “We couldn’t be happier to support Chase’s opportunit y to bring an Olympic medal back to Iredell County.”