This past weekend, Nov. 14-15, the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) hosted the 2015 Fall Games. Among the 1,100 athletes that competed for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons was 26-year-old softball player David Little.
Little plays softball for the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) team, “The Giant Steps Warriors.” He learned softball at a young age.
“I taught myself as a kid growing up. I loved baseball, and I caught on to it while playing with friends at a park. It was an easy transition from baseball to softball,” said Little.
“I struggled in school since I was six. I needed help with schoolwork, and at the same time I was learning about my disability, and I was just struggling. I had no father either. My mom and my four older brothers were my family, and they always took good care of me,” he added.
His mom is his anchor.
“My mom is always happy for me and pushed me not to give up. She’s my go-to person. Ever since I was a kid, she told me to achieve my goals. That’s why I love my momma. She always pushes me. She’s the one that tells me that what I do now will take me places in the future,” he said.
And thus, Little found his way to the SOSC softball team.
“I love Special Olympics because I get to meet new people. I can talk to other players. I am a social guy, and I love to meet new friends. We push each other. And they are all new friends you just met, but they help you and give you pointers about how to be a better athlete. I like the people and it’s fun to hang out with other people from different Special Olympics programs,” he said.
I asked him his favorite friends from the team, and he said “all of my teammates are my friends. Everyone is my favorite. They motivate me to keep going. We’re always goofing around and making each other laugh. We talk about sports, all sports. We just have fun.” And, when I asked him his favorite memory from SOSC softball he told me “I like to win. Every time I win, it’s special! In particular it is great to play in the Lakewood Special Olympics team. They are a hard team to beat. I just like to play against them. They give us a run for the money.”
Outside of SOSC softball he enjoys basketball- his sports hero is Kobe Bryant.
“I like to look up to him. He’s my idol. He’s a team player,” he said.
David enjoys playing basketball at USC with friends.
He also shared his favorite subject.
“History was one of my favorite subjects in high school. There is so much to learn about our country. I learn so many things and about so many people, I want to say thank you to everyone who has served our country. Thank you for putting your life on the line. That’s why I love history,” he said.
This past weekend at the Fall Games, Little’s team competed in four games. On Saturday, they lost 7-0 to the Santa Barbara All Stars and 7-0 to the Temecula Titans. On Sunday, with a little rest and encouragement from their coaches, they stormed back and defeated the Santa Barbara All Stars 19-1 and the Temecula Titans 16-3. Their two victories on Sunday propelled them to a gold medal in their division!
On the field, Little shined as a leader. While his team was hitting, he stood by the entrance of the dugout to offer good luck to his team members and tips. As players returned to the dugout, he gave them congratulatory hugs and high-fives. He offered support and stood by his team in their wins and losses.
“On Saturday, we didn’t do so well, but on Sunday, we won,” he said. “We worked hard, and we had fun.”
I think what I find most inspirational about Little is his can do attitude and outlook on life, best summarize by this quote that he gave me: “Don’t be a quitter. Just push yourself and learn something new, and you never know where it will take you.”
Kudos to you David, and congratulations to you and your team on winning Gold this past weekend at the Fall Games. You are a champion!
Photograph by: Jim Soloman