Gina Boyle’s favorite sport is basketball, and you’ll see her speeding down the court at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. “I’m really fast, I practice a lot, and I’ve gotten better and better by playing on my Special Olympics team,” she says. “I want to play my best at the Games, and make my team proud.”
Ever since she joined, about 11 years ago, Special Olympics has given this Kaiser Permanente member a chance to excel at a variety of sports. “I play basketball, soccer, and softball, and I bowl. I hope to play golf sometime in the future, and I wish they had wrestling so I could do that too.” Gina plays soccer on a Special Olympics Unified Sports® team, which includes athletes both with and without intellectual disabilities. The team competed in a state tournament in early June this year.
Gina was very shy before she got involved in Special Olympics. “As I made friends, I became more outgoing, and I discovered that I can make people laugh. I like doing that,” she says.
Special Olympics has also helped her stay focused on making healthy choices. She gets lots of exercise, remembers to drink water, and eats plenty of fruits and vegetables. “I eat oranges every day,” she says.
Gina’s dreams for improving herself encompass her longtime job at Taco Bell and her role on her basketball team. “I cook and clean at Taco Bell, and I’d like to take on more responsibilities,” she says. “I’d also like to be a mentor on my basketball team. I want to help my teammates play better and be the best they can be.”
In her free time, Gina likes to shoot hoops, listen to music, and play her electric guitar. And she’s eagerly awaiting the USA Games. “It’s a great chance to learn more about basketball and make new friends,” she says.