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The Angel City Virtual Games Presented by the Hartford Brings Inclusion Through Sports
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published July 16, 2020

The Angel City Games presented by the Hartford has provided community through competition to people with different abilities for six years (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The sixth annual Angel City Games Presented by the Hartford has gone virtual and expanded from a weekend festival to last across three weeks on July 13-19, August 3-9, and August 24-30.

Angel City Games founder Clayton Frech and his team canceled their regular four-day festival in March in the wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic and began revamping the format.

“I give my team a lot of credit because we kinda went into it with this idea that [we] try to preserve as many of the elements of the games that we can,” Frech said. “We really tried to deconstruct it and put it back together in a totally different way and try to hold on to those core elements.”

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Angel City Games was going to be four weeks and start in June, but they cancelled that week due to the protests that broke out in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

The 11 sports that are usually offered will still be incorporated with this year’s games. Sports clinics will be hosted on Mondays, sports challenges will commence on Saturdays. Throughout the week, there will be resource nights, workout sessions, concerts by adaptive artists, and community-building activities. The events will last for approximately one and a half hours per day.

The Virtual Games has also become more inclusive, the activities are open to family members and caregivers of differently-abled athletes and allies.

“This year anybody can participate … just jump in with us, sign up as an ally,” Frech said. “Attend whatever’s interesting to you, get a couple free virtual workouts in, listen to some music, whatever strikes your fancy.”

Ty Duckett attended the inaugural Angel City Games (Courtesy photo)

Through the years, the Angel City Games has given countless athletes a sense of community and belonging through sport. Among them is Ty Duckett, who had part of his left leg amputated after a motor vehicle accident in 2015.

“I needed the Games to kind of figure out my new me,” he said. “It allowed me to breathe a new life … I’m excited for it and I can’t wait to see other people ignited and inspired by Angel City.”

Many Paralympians will be participating in the Games. Paralympic gold medalist wheelchair basketball players Matt Scott and Megan Blunk will host the stationary ball-handling drills. Blunk mentioned that the games will get more exposure since it is on the internet.

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“I think it’s really special because now it can reach more people, especially with disabilities,” she said. “It’s an amazing event, but not everyone can get to California and just having the opportunity to be active and be a part of something that you feel more included.”

The Angel City Games also partnered with the Wayfinder Family Services to provide programming for the visually impaired. There is also a digital platform for those who are participating so they can engage with other athletes.

“It’s built with accessibility in mind,” Frech said. “The athletes will build profiles, be able to chat with each other and post photos and messages on the message board.”

To register for the Angel City Games Presented by The Hartford, visit https://www.angelcitygames.org/Athlete-Participation/Registration

Categories: Health | Local | News (Sports) | Sports
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