Annual Disability Sports Festival takes over Palm Desert Civic Park

Annual Disability Sports Festival takes over Palm Desert Civic Park

Martín Di Felice

Palm Desert, CA

About 400 people are expected to join and support the Disability Sports Festival in the Coachella Valley. 

The event’s keynote speaker, Jeff Gonzalez, a retired Marine Corps veteran, said these kinds of events remind people of their potential, regardless of abilities. 

"I’m a disabled veteran and I have a disabled son with cerebral palsy and highly disabled," Gonzalez said. "And just to be out here in the community with people who support them, I am also the keynote speaker, so I got the chance to fire everybody up."

This is the sixth year in a row the Desert Ability Center hosts the event alongside other community leaders. 

One of those leaders helping out was Coach Chris Keuillian for the Desert United Soccer Club.  

Keuilian said, "So when we got the call from the disability games it was fantastic for us to be able to come out and meet and see all the other sports and all the other options that special needs kids have in the valley."

He said a special soccer team for athletes of all abilities has gotten popular in the last couple of years. 

Sebastian Flores plays with the soccer club, he said, "Getting to see that they get to do what we get to do every day, and it just puts a smile on my face, I actually just saw a kid and remembered me from the program, which was great."

And during a Saturday afternoon, the Palm Desert Civic Park turned into an Olympic field. 

Gonzalez said, "So events like these in our community are a way for us to gather around and promote that reconciliation, promote that line of saying we are all the same."

Nothing was out of reach for the Disability Sports Festival crowd.