PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — This time of year, football stadiums across the country usually sit empty, including at “The Pfield” in Pflugerville. But at around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesdays, the hard work of practice starts for the Pflugerville Falcons.
The Falcons are Pflugerville ISD's Special Olympics team. It's a team that athletes like Leman Duggan have been on for years.
“I have been a part of Special Olympics for seven years,” Duggan said.
A Special Olympics football season usually wraps up in December. But this year, in February, the Falcons are still going strong.
“We are practicing for nationals,” Duggan said. “That is coming up in June 2022.”
They are headed to the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.
“We're getting ourselves in shape and we're getting ready to go to nationals on June 4,” said Benji Garcia, another Falcons team member. “Yeah, we're going for that big gold medal.”
The Falcons were selected to compete in the national games by a lottery. Now they are putting in the work.
“When you make a mistake, you got to own it and fix it,” Garcia said.
This is especially important when you are representing the state of Texas as the only traditional flag football team heading to nationals.
“We're training to get ready for Florida and all that,” said Ezra Elizondo, a Falcons athlete. “We're super excited, so that's a good thing that we're training very hard.”
Elizondo knows that training for such a big event takes a lot of dedication and teamwork.
“They mean a lot to me,” he said. “They’re like my closest family.”
“My teammates, I don't know how to explain it, but they're pretty much like family,” Duggan said. “This has changed my entire life. I don't know what I would do without this.“
That's why even when football fields across the country sit empty, the Pflugerville Falcons leave knowing that they’ll be back each Wednesday until the USA Games.
Opening ceremonies for the Special Olympics USA Games are scheduled for June 5. If you would like to learn more about the Pflugerville Falcons or donate to their trip, click here.
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