NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
That is the oath each of these athletes took upon stepping onto the basketball court Saturday morning.
"Its so much more than a basketball, I don't know how anyone could not come back," said Angela Russell, Area Director of Special Olympics Texas.
Laurie-Ann Phillips has competed for five years and like so many of her competitors she came to win.
"They're going down," said Phillips.
Despite the competitive nature of the game, area director Angela Russell says this is an event competitors look forward to all year.
"A lot of times this is the one recreational thing they have to look forward to," said Russell.
The day consists of three on three play, five on five and a division called unified, mixing in normally developing athletes in with the Special Olympics athletes.
Tyler Rose player Mike Sherough, says the basics of basketball are a part of its appeal.
"My favorite, basketball, a lot of teamwork, get along with other people," said Sherough.
Sherough likes to channel his favorite NBA superstar whenever he's on the court.
"I like Kobe. I like to shoot that three-pointer like Kobe Bryant makes that long shot," said Sherough.
But sponsors believe lessons learned on the court are more important than winning a game.
"It's not about how you perform at the competition that day but its about where you were when you started," said Russell.
The greatest reward for all of the competitors, overcoming obstacles no matter what it takes.
"No matter what the challenge is in front of them, they rise to and it and rise above it," said Russell.