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Georgia Games coming to North Hall this weekend

POSTED: June 25, 2014 7:48 p.m.

The Georgia Games Adaptive Sports Showcase is coming to Gainesville this Saturday, with the North Hall Community Center hosting a trio of adapted sports.

Wheelchair basketball is being added to the mix this year, along with power soccer and beep baseball.

Kim Keeney, program coordinator for Athens Inclusive Recreation and Sports, is partnering with the Georgia Games to help organize the weekend event. She is also a power soccer player for the Athens Titans, one of the teams participating.

“We’re just showing the public that there are things out there for people with disabilities,” Keeney said. “It’s about recreation and staying healthy and friendship.”

Keeney’s husband, Roger, will be taking part in beep baseball, a softball-like sport whose participants are visually impaired, other than the pitcher and catcher. A pitcher throws to his own team’s batters, and the sound of beeps alert players when the ball is coming.

The adapted sports festival at NHCC will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and is free to spectators.

This is the second year of beep baseball and the third year of power soccer in the state games.

“Adapted sports are growing,” said Cam Baker, who works for the Georgia Games. “It gives us a chance to show off these adapted sports and how entertaining and exciting they can be.”

Baker said there should be five power soccer teams, three for beep baseball and two for wheelchair basketball. More than 100 total competitors are expected.

All three Georgia beep baseball teams attending the event are preparing for their World Series this August in Rochester, Minn.

Kim Keeney began playing power soccer in 2009 and formed a team in 2011, but her role with AIRS has greatly expanded her passion for adapted sports.

“It used to just be something I did for recreation, something I did to get away from the house,” Keeney said. “Now I work full-time making opportunities available for people with disabilities. It’s become a big part of who I am and changed my priorities.”

Her organization’s motto is “making the impossible possible through adapted sports.” She said the benefit coming from that mindset “goes beyond sports. It goes into everyday life.”

That’s part of the reason she is so excited to see participants in the three sports all in the same venue Saturday. She said it’s rare they would cross paths otherwise.

“It’s about networking and socializing and making friends,” Keeney said. “That makes my day. That makes all the work I’ve done worth every second.”


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