Joshua Bennett has always enjoyed playing sports. He’s good at most sports too, and he likes to compete. At 6′ 3″ and 298 pounds, he’s a good match for flag football. And his size matches his big dreams for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and beyond.
“I’m looking forward to competing at the Games, playing really well, and bringing home a gold medal,” says the 23-year-old Federal Way, Washington, resident. “It’s also a chance to meet lots of people and hang out with my teammates. It will be lots of fun.”
The Kaiser Permanente member plays and excels at many sports, and his athletic ability has not gone unnoticed by sports team recruiters over the years. “Special Olympics tried to recruit me when I was in ninth grade, but I was playing with other teams then,” he says.
Later, when he did join, he was recruited to play with Special Olympics Unified Sports®, which brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team. He attended the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, competing in UNIFIED Basketball with the Senior High School division, so he’s heading into this summer’s Games with that extra bit of experience under his belt.
Josh graduated from high school in 2013 and now works as a FedEx package handler. “It’s a good job for me and I like the people I work with,” he says. “I’m also looking to the future and trying to improve myself. I’m taking classes at Green River Community College and studying to be a computer technician.”
Special Olympics gives Josh a good understanding of what he needs to do to stay healthy. “I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and exercise at least 5 days a week,” he says. In his free time, he enjoys playing computer games and hanging out with his friends.
Josh jokes that his impressive size tends to intimidate the opposing team when he’s playing flag football. “I guess that works in my favor,” he laughs. “But he’s the gentlest guy,” adds his coach.
With size, skill, and competitive savvy on his side, Josh’s prospects for the upcoming Games look great. Keep an eye on this gentle giant as he represents Washington state!