By John Philip Wyllie
San Ysidro High School Special Education teacher Theresa Camacho has been attending her kid’s sporting events for years. First, her two sons starred for Bonita Vista’s football program and then her older daughter played on various high school and club teams. Now it’s her youngest child’s turn. And despite the fact that the baby of the Camacho family was born with developmentally disabilities, Crystal Camacho is carrying on the family tradition.
Camacho was one of an estimated 250 developmentally disabled students participating in Wednesday’s Sweetwater Union High School District Soccer Tournament at Bonita Vista High.
“Crystal loves participating in sports,” said her proud mom. “She still plays Challenger Little League and VIP Soccer. She has grown up in a sports family and she loves sports. She is her brothers’ biggest fan and when they are in town and her sister can get off from work, they’ll come out to root for her. So do her grandparents. They actually just left a few minutes ago.”
With so much support coming from her home, Crystal has blossomed into a solid contributor on each of her teams. And while her abilities are no where near that of her siblings, she enjoys herself every bit as much.
“Crystal woke up really early this morning to get her uniform and matching hair ribbons on. It is a big, big, thing for her to have her own sport, to compete and to be special just like her brothers and sister.”
Camacho was just one of the students involved that was inspired by her siblings play. Her teammate, Tia Sao, has a brother (Anthony Casares) who plays on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Chula Vista Spartans. That same athleticism is obviously present in Sao.
Eleven district high schools bused teams over to participate. On this day the emphasis was more on the joy of participating than on the thrill of winning.
“It was huge,” said event organizer, Charleen Love. “We must have had 1,500 students watching. I can’t express the feeling of seeing all of our kids out there. This was their day to shine.”