“The winner of the bronze medal in basketball is Team Texas!!!”

The crowd went wild. That was announced on June 11th in Orlando, Florida, at Disney World. It had been a long road coming to this point. The athletes and partners put in a lot of effort to get there, and they were going to celebrate.

By Sylvia Rodriguez, Freelance Reporter Hola Texas



Team Texas is comprised of TCU Unified Club, a partnership between Special Olympics and TCU. TCU Unified club is the brainchild of Thomas Lecy, a transplant from Minnesota to Texas attending TCU. During his first year in his dorm room, Lecy created the bylaws and formed the club.

Thomas had a history of Inclusion in his hometown. He helped form a club that represented Inclusion with Special Olympics at his high school in Minnesota.

TCU Unified has been in existence for 4 years and has touched many individuals and families with athletes 18-year-old and older with Intellectual Developmental Delays. Students, athletes, and family members met on Tuesday nights at various locations around TCU to celebrate Inclusion and the differences between everyone who makes us the same.

One afternoon months ago, Thomas Lecy and Club president Kyle Swalholm were contacted by officials from Special Olympics. TCU was being recognized as one of the National Banner Unified Champion Schools and, in turn, was given the opportunity to try out for a spot to represent Texas at the USA games in Orlando.


The TCU Unified Club would have an opportunity to compete at the National Level.

The time had come; the team tried out for basketball, having a practice filmed by Special Olympic officials. Nerves were on edge, and everyone did their absolute best. A couple of weeks later, the team was notified. TCU Unified Club was heading to Orlando to represent Team Texas in basketball! TCU Unified Club would be set to compete against some incredibly talented athletes and partners from around the United States.

The team consisted of six athletes Thomas, Danny, Avant, Johnathan, Logan DeAndre, four partners, Will, Bennett, Charlie, Andrew, and two coaches, Thomas and Kyle. The team was ecstatic.

Once the excitement slowed down, fundraising began. Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Delta Gamma joined forces and created a night where the unified team played a full game of basketball at TCU’s Schollmaier Arena. The fundraiser helped raise funds to go to Orlando by selling tickets to the game and T-shirt sales. Each one of the athletes was supposed to raise $1200.00. With the help of Beta Theta Pi and Delta Gamma, the team did not have to do any more fundraising.

For the athletes and partners competing at Disney, it would be a dream come true. To make all this happen, various details had to be worked out, flights had to be booked, and hotels had to be secured. Athletes, Partners, and families gathered excitedly to hear the latest announcements about the trip in June.

Then it seemed like in an instant, it was time for everyone to pack, load their cars, and head to the airport. Team Texas (TCU Unified) would fly together in unity, just like all those Tuesday and Thursday practices. The team was ready, as much of the anxiety and anticipation had also been addressed during Spring practice sessions. They were prepared to represent Team Texas both physically and mentally.

It was finally June 6th, the day of the first preliminary basketball game against Florida. The team entered the basketball court full of optimism, pumped to play, and great sportsmanship.

The score of that was 30-24. Florida took the preliminary game. There would be two more challengers that would be set to compete against TCU Unified.


Thomas Parks, the veteran athlete of TCU Unified Club, said, “My level of excitement playing against Florida was the coolest thing I ever experienced. Playing against other teams from different states was a dream come true. For many of the teams’ partners and athletes alike, this signified the togetherness, the Inclusion, the growing and learning together that can only be described as TCU Unified Club.

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