North Stars, Special Olympians get together for annual match-up

AU SABLE FORKS - The Plattsburgh North Stars recently traveled to Au Sable Valley High School to shed their pads and helmets for an exhibition basketball game against Special Olympics participants from Clinton and Essex counties.

Anne Slattery, coordinator of the event and a coach for the North Country Region of Special Olympics, said the annual event is a great chance for athletes of all abilities to get together for an afternoon of fun.

Slattery commended the North Stars athletes for continuing the tradition and for helping routinely with Special Olympics events.

"My guys really look up to the North Stars," said Slattery. "We have a very good relationship."

The game between the North Stars and the Special Olympics team - the Adirondack Warriors - ended in double overtime with a score of 62-59.

"We thought about leaving it a tie, but everyone wanted to keep it going," said Slattery, added the North Stars finally squeaked by their opponents in the end. "It was pretty exciting."

The annual exhibition game is a fun event, but also one that educates the public about the abilities of those with physical and developmental disabilities.

"When some people think about Special Olympics, they think of an athlete with an amputated leg or arm, having to have a different means of getting around. That's not necessarily true," Slattery said. "There are many different levels of disability, but what's the same is their ability to show how talented they truly can be."

Scott Aguglia, offensive coordinator for the North Stars and coach for the recent basketball game, said it continues to be an honor for the North Stars to be asked back to play the Adirondack Warriors.

"The North Stars are always very happy to participate and help out in the local community. This basketball game is something we look forward to every year," he said. "As a coach, it's a joy to watch these athletes compete with such passion. It's very impressive."

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