Brooklyn Center Nonprofit Helps Athletes Play Adapted Sports
Nearly every weekend you can find a drop-in adapted sports game at Courage Kenny in Golden Valley. The games are organized through a Brooklyn Center-based nonprofit called We Love to Play. The games offer athletes a chance to stay active and socialize with one another.
Jesse Klein is one of several athletes who drop in on games at Courage Kenny in Golden Valley.
“It can get competitive,” says Jesse Klein, one of the athletes who is no stranger to adapted sports.
Klein played while a student at Robbinsdale Area Schools and was fairly successful in several sports. He’s played on and off since graduating high school and college. His brothers join him at games too.
“It gives us a great way to stay in shape and have fun on a weekly basis,” says Klein. “Generally there are no hard feelings when the game ends. We usually have a good time.”
Organizing We Love to Play
Having a good time is one of the main objectives behind the nonprofit We Love to Play. It is based in Brooklyn Center and Charlie Brose is one of the main organizers. He helped found the nonprofit as a way to give adapted sports athletes a consistent place to play after high school.
“We put our thoughts together and said let’s try this out,” says Brose. “As of now we are starting our 25th year.”
Players can register online and then are free to play. There is a cost associated with signing up, but it can be waived if necessary.
“The primary thing is you are disabled in some manner. We have people who come in with long term knee injuries to people with severe cerebral palsy,” explains Brose.
You see all ages and abilities enjoying a variety of sports that change with the seasons.
“I love the game of hockey,” says participant and supporter Dave Berquist, who believes this is a unique program. “I don’t see too many people with disabilities getting out on a Saturday and having fun like this.”
A chance to be social
Besides the physical activity, We Love to Play also offers social interactions. Groups go out to eat after playing a game and often form friendships. Nicole Kadwell says it’s a good activity for her son to get him out of the house and interacting with others.
“Because he has autism, he likes to do things by himself,” says Kadwell. “Being on a team has forced him out of his shell and he’s learning how to work with other people and things. It’s been a real gift.”
But at the heart of every sporting event, there’s robust competition. That’s no different here.
“When you come in here and look at the players, your competitive spirit comes out,” says Scott Young, a participant.