Broken Ground teacher Brittany Gifford chosen to coach at Special Olympics in June

  • Brittany Gifford, one of the teachers at Broken Ground Elementary School, has been selected to be a Special Olympics coach for the State of New Hampshire at the national competition in June. Picasa—Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 5/5/2022 3:27:50 PM

Brittany Gifford said her application to coach at the Special Olympics was a shot in the dark.

“I honestly didn’t think that I would be selected at all, but I wanted to just try and throw it out there,” said Gifford.

But to her surprise, the Broken Ground teacher was chosen to represent New Hampshire as an assistant basketball coach at the Orlando games in June.

“I cried,” said Gifford. “It’s just like such a cool feeling to be recognized as one of the top coaches in New Hampshire for Special Olympics. It was just really surreal to be chosen.”

Gifford began coaching for the Special Olympics back in 2014. The Concord Golden Eagles were a new team starting up in the capital and Gifford was chosen as their first head coach. She wore a lot of hats in the early days. The elementary school teacher coached basketball, bowling, softball, track and field and more.

“I basically coached everything for them,” said Gifford.

Gifford previously coached varsity volleyball but fell in love with coaching Special Olympics athletes after seeing the joy that they got out of every game and practice.

“Special Olympics is just such a different world,” said Gifford. “Special Olympics is just such a different world. The joy that they have just being a part of the team. How happy they are to even just like run a race. Even if they’re in last place they’re so happy. It’s just such a different feeling that you’re doing something good for them and they are succeeding at something that they might not have had a chance to do in their school.”

When Gifford started unified sports had yet to be added to schools. She championed the feeling of inclusion that the athletes feel while competing. The chance to compete is something that Gifford believes everyone deserves. She added that her team works as hard as anyone.

“These kids are so determined and we practice every week and they work so hard to learn and be successful,” said Gifford. “I think a lot of people just aren’t aware of the amount of time and effort that actually goes into this and the amount that they have to learn in order to be successful. They have to learn so much more to be able to take in all of these skills. Just their determination to succeed is awesome. And they are just so proud of themselves.”

For Gifford and her team training will continue through the spring and then the team will hold a sendoff rally in June.

“There is a send-off at the State House on Friday, June 3 at two o’clock so that’ll be really fun,” said Gifford.

After that, the team and Gifford will be off to Orlando on June 4.

For anyone interested in getting involved with the Special Olympics, Gifford said to visit the website and fill out a volunteer form.

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