Area26 news & updates
April 2021 | Issue 20
Let me win, but if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt.
From the Editor...
Face Mask 1
Keeping the vaccination links up front. The sooner those of us who are medically able get the shots, the sooner we all get to return to play. Reminder: Virginia has both a Statewide registration and Fairfax County also has its own. Let's get back to sports!!
Area 26 is in need of new volunteers for two positions: Medical Coordinator and Adult Bowling Coordinator.

The Medical Coordinator position oversees the submission and crediting of the physical and COVID-19 Waiver forms for all athletes as they come due, and coordinates with the SOVA staff to make sure the records are correct and up to date for player eligibility.

The Adult Bowling Coordinator manages our very popular bowling program, arranging the facilities and tournaments for the league. We want to keep this going as soon as the COVID circumstances allow!

If interested in either position, please contact Area Council Chair Elaine Tilton at chairman@novasova.orgg
Having Fun...

Here are more in our series of pictures illustrating how we are passing the time away from regular activities while staying safe from the virus...
Jay Choi Preparing a Gourmet Meal...
...and then enjoying the result!
Tom Merz and Max Hershberger enjoying Manhattan Pizza after an outdoor practice
Austin Ward and Matt Sapienza working a passing drill on a sunny day
Athlete Rep Jeff Cogswell got in some solid mileage while the sun was shining...
The Masked Avengers and YOUniquely Fit crew showing off their guns at an informal outdoor practice in the park.
Doing something fun? Send us your pictures, and see yourself here...
New Golf Coordinator
All great things come to an end, and that time has come for our dedicated and very long term friend Mark Emery's time as Golf Coordinator. Mark is moving on to his next life challenge (and moving south to Georgia as well.
Mark and new Coordinator Robin with the team in 2019
The good news in this is that we have an energetic replacement in Robin Utz, who has been with the team for several years, and now will take over as sport coordinator.
Please join us in welcoming Robin. We look forward to Golf returning (along with many other sports) as soon as circumstances allow.
Virtual Activities Update...
Hi Athletes,

BASH Boxing is happening every Sunday this season. Join the fun and get a GREAT workout. Family, friends and teammates are all welcome to sign up - the more the merrier!!
Don't miss the fun next Sunday...
April Crafting Collab (April 11th...)
Hello Virtual Companions Cards & Crafters! Register for our April Crafting Collab on Sunday, April 11 @2pm! We will be making origami/paper folding crafts!
With the arrival of spring, the theme for this collab is flowers! You are also welcome to bring your own card/craft to work on and still partake in our convos and social activities.
Also still going...

1. You can find your practice time and location on the web at the button below including the schedule for 3x week class with Youniquely Fit for those that want some extra fitness, or don't already have a team to practice with

2. We still have Yoga, Bootcamp, Dance Party Fridays- you can find that info at button 2 below...
We're working to make sure to communicate out MORE via Facebook and we also want to see what you all are doing to stay FIT. Make sure to follow our Area 26 Group on Facebook-
YOUniquely Fit is continuing to run their excellent program into the new year. There is room for several more athletes if you are looking for a great way to get in some exercise with some top-notch SO Coaches on days you don't have team practice. You can join at the button, Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday from 6 to 7pm!
Keep up the energy everybody! 
Fit-5 Fitness Pals Monthly Update...
The Fit5-Five...Chris, Tom, Dave, Max and Kyler are gettting vaccinated so they are ready for the return to play...
Tom with a shot in the arm

Both Chris and David are scheduled for their shots soon. Everybody wants to get back to sports...
Kyler at the vac station
Max with card in hand
David working the Soccer drills
Chris at the net
Some of the 5 and their friends working on football skills
You can check out their Workout Video on our YouTube Site by clicking the button.
Athletes Corner
  • by Jeff Cogswell
Hello ….
 I hope everyone is doing well and getting outside and enjoying the Spring weather. I have been getting out more recently walking for exercise during the pandemic. 

I recently received my vaccine for COVID-19!! The process is you select your category (age, job, health risks...) and submit it, and they will email you to notify you for eligibility for an appointment. 

It did not take me long to get my appointment and the shots were painless and quick! I had minor reactions to the shots that were not bothersome. Overall I would highly encourage all of you athletes to sign up and get your vaccine to help prevent from getting the coronavirus. Hopefully if all athletes receives their vaccine, then we will be able to return to participating in in-person sport activities. 
Until next time – stay safe and healthy, and most importantly WEAR YOUR MASK!

-Talk to you all next month,
In Memoriam...
Michael Bianco Sr. (by Kimberly Bianco)
(The article below is a request from one of our families in need)
Robert (Robbie) Bianco is known for his energetic attitude on the baseball field, basketball court, and soccer field as he has played with the McLean Little League Challenger Division and Special Olympics for over ten years. He is especially passionate about baseball, a sport he has played and loved since he was a young child. His favorite part about playing sports is hanging out with his best friend, Peter.

Robbie radiates enthusiasm and positivity on and off the court/field, constantly encouraging his teammates, friends, and family with his witty sense of humor. He is passionate about sports, always sharing about his dreams and aspirations. Most recently, he has told his nine siblings of his ambitious goals of being a wrestler with WWE and/or beating all of Michael Jordan’s basketball records.
Robbie’s passion for sports stems directly from his father, Michael (Mike) Bianco Sr. Just like his father before him, Mike thoroughly enjoyed sports and pushed all of his ten children to compete in athletics. Mike could always be found cheering on Robbie from the sideline – encouraging him to sprint faster, hit farther, and aim better. They frequently attended the gym together, both showing off their muscles and strength. Anywhere Mike went, Robbie was surely to be following shortly behind. The two had many adventures planned in the years to come.
In a heartbreaking and unexpected twist in this thing called life, Mike contracted Covid-19 in January. His condition rapidly declined, and he ultimately succumbed to the disease on February 4, 2021 after a hard-fought battle in the ICU. Mike’s unanticipated death comes ten years after the untimely passing of Robbie’s mother, Darby.
Robbie and his siblings are working to put their lives back together and find some sense of normalcy after this tragic ending. Mike held the role of dad and mom for all ten kids for the last decade and his unconditional love and support will never be replaced. The gaping hole in each child’s heart will never be filled. No one knows what life may bring, but there is one thing that is certain – the Bianco siblings will continue to find the light in this darkness and encompass each other in the unconditional love and support their father constantly displayed. And they will always be cheering on Robbie from the sideline – encouraging him to sprint faster, hit farther, and aim better.

If you would like to contribute to a GoFundMe set up specifically for Robbie’s future, please do so at the button. Thank you for your support!
In Memoriam...
Bob Tucci (by Jeff McGiboney, Council Member and Track Coordinator)
It is with great sadness that I tell you of the passing of Bob Tucci, a wonderfully generous man and friend to those of us affiliated with Special Olympics over the years. You may read his obituary at button below.

Bob is remembered for his enthusiastic spirit and significant contributions to the Special Olympics Track and Field and its athletes. In the early years of the Track and Field program, we all remember the hospitality and camaraderie we enjoyed at the meetings he had at his house. Bob leaves us a great legacy that we may remember and take joy in having experienced.
Staying Active and getting shots are the keys for now - more pics...
A shot in the arm (or two...) is the way to get us back to play. Here are some of our other community members and athletes taking one for the team (and for everybody else, too!!)
Jay Choi
Michael England
Olivia Baker
Kia Hill
Area Chairman Elaine Tilton
Your's Truly (the Editor...)
Sean Minnick
Tammy Kiser
If you are medically able, you should try and get YOUR shots as soon as possible. The sooner we get done, the sooner we get to play!!
Meanwhile, we still have teams making their marks with Zoom...
GMU Swim begins their Spring Season...
Final 2021 Season Legends Basketball Practice with the GMU Scrimmage Squad
GMU Green Machine "oiling the machinery"
Take some screenshots and get your team in the spotlight at the button...
We love to have your pictures - so keep busy and...
Job Opportunities for our athletes...
The Company Didlake is still looking for workers from our community. Here is some information from the company and about them and their service:
All people have the right to work and contribute to their community in meaningful ways. Our mission is to create opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities. It drives everything we do.
Our programs and services help people find competitive employment and get engaged with their community. We collaborate with community members and local businesses to further our mission and successfully effect change.

We believe in empowering individuals to realize their full potential so they may lead more satisfying and meaningful lives that include employment and relationships. Our mission, creating opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities, opens the door to innovative thinking and creative approaches to challenges. Opportunity creates choice and choice empowers people.

At Didlake, we create opportunities to empower people every day.

You can learn more about the company at this button.
If you are interested in applying for the open jobs you can contact Ace Barbari, Field Recruiter at phone number 703-361-4195 x 1404 (o) or
Stay Healthy, Stay Active!!
Revealing the Champion in all of us...
Please continue to share information about this newsletter and website with those you know in the community so that we can better share the wonder of our special athletes and volunteers. To sign up to receive the newsletter, go to our webform Newsletter Subscription
Area 26 Points of Contact
Area 26 Council

Elaine Tilton

Chuck Adkins-Blanch
Jeff Cogswell
Patrick DeLapp
Bruce Fingerhut
Jay Hoffmeier
Veronica Jennings
Nancy Julia
Abby Lacy
Katherine Martin
Jeff McGiboney
Nancy Robbins
Bernie Woolfley
Area 26 Special Olympics |
Season Directors
Elaine Tilton, Fall/Winter

Nancy Julia, Spring/Summer

Barry Tilton

Volunteer Coordinator
Bruce Fingerhut

Athlete Representative
Jeff Cogswell

Medical and COVID Waivers

Senior Director, Potomac Region
Veronica Jennings
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