The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on December 30, 1994 · 9
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 9

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, December 30, 1994
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BrandonSouth Bay-3 THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Friday, December 30, 1994 Disability can't stop world-class athletes STARTmG LmE By BOB BELLONE Tribune Correspondent TAMPA While celebrating his 20th birthday today, Ryan Blankenship wishes an old friend could be with him. Blankenship still misses Ricky Bell, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back whose close friendship inspired the 1991 made-for-television movie, "Triumph of the Heart: The Ricky Bell Story." Bell, who rushed for 1,263 yards in 1979 to lead the Bucs within one game of Super Bowl XIV, fought a courageous battle with a mysterious muscular disease that cut short not only a brilliant football career, but his life as well. He died in 1984 at age 29. Blankenship, a Chamberlain High graduate, knows all about physical struggles. He has cerebral palsy, a neuromuscular condition that has impaired his speech and mobility since birth. If Bell was still alive, he undoubtedly would be proud of the young man he helped motivate from the moment they met in 1981. "It was a very special relationship between two very special individuals," said former All-Pro defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon, who was inducted with Bell into the Buccaneer Krewe of Honor three years ago. "Ricky was the type of person that just reached out to help him in a genuine way. Between the two of them, there was something you'd like to see happening more in the world today." For Blankenship, it's happening again with Billy Schneider, who's not a pro football player, but a sports hero just the same. The pair met two years ago when Schneider, who also has cerebral palsy, joined Blankenship, already a veteran on a team of disabled athletes sponsored by the Hillsborough County Therapeutic Recreation Services. They became fast friends ... and they're getting faster in track and field events. Schneider, who turns 18 on New Year's Day, won four gold medals at the Junior Orange Bowl Sports Ability Games in Miami earlier this month. Blankenship brought three home. They compete in different classes based on the severity of their disabilities. Schneider won the 400-meter run in 1 minute, 7.48 seconds, the 800 in 2:43.65, the 1,500 in 5:21.42 and long jump with 3.16 meters. Blankenship won the 200 in 28.61 seconds, the 400 in 1:02.21 and the long jump with 3.88 meters. All eight Hillsborough athletes involved earned medals at the event, but Blankenship and Schneider are the most serious contenders for places on the U.S. team scheduled to compete at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta. To make the team, an athlete must qualify in at least one event. Blankenship came within a fraction of a second of qualifying for the 100-meter dash at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Schneider, then unaware of competitions for the disabled, was competing on the King High track team. This will be his third year on that team. Schneider also has been on the King cross country team three years and was captain his senior season. Schneider, who set two national records at the 1993 U.S. Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association track championships in Hartford, Conn., and Blankenship, who set a .If,1 ' -A .:,7 r'T S J , .' y , t c V BOB WESTENHOUSERTribune photos Tribune file photo Ryan Blankenship, above, was inspired by Buccaneers running back Ricky Bell in 1981. Billy Schneider, above right, runs in the Junior Orange Bowl Sports Ability Games in Miami. Schneider won four gold medals at the event. Blankenship, bottom right, won three gold medals. cross country (3-mile) standard in Baltimore last June, received their first taste of international competition in . July. At the invitation of the U.S. Cerebral Palsy Athletic Association, both runners raced at the International Paralympic Committee-sponsored world championships at Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. In the 400-meter event, racing in different classes, Schneider finished fifth and Blankenship was eighth. "A lot has changed in disabled sports," said Tina Russo, one of Team Tampa's three coaches. "It's a lot more competitive than before. "Now it's just like any other athlete. You have to train seriously. To keep up with it, you have to stay in the ballgame." Those words have a familiar ring to Ryan, whom Bell urged to "fight the good fight and do your best, no matter what." He still hears you, Ricky. by. i, ' ... ....v., J ....... U', 1 M I i : ... W .1.1. " ll 1 . V ,1 ; t if ' i I; 4- j V lr i t In 1 m East Bay Little League is holding registration for its Spring baseball , and Softball leagues Tuesday, Thursday, Jan, 10, 12, 17 and 19 from , 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Jan 7, 14 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vance Vogel Park on Old Bull Frog Creek Road In 6lbsonton. Call 877-2772 ; for information. Florida AAU Baseball begins In Hillsborough County In January. Highly skilled players (ages 9-20) and coaches, willing to travel ; statewide, are needed. Tournaments will be played throughout the year, . including the state and national level. Call Don Atwood at 988-6088 or 622-6999 for Information. Temple Terrace PONY Baseball will hold registration Jan. 14, 21 and 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Jan. 17, 25 and Feb. 1-2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Call Don Atwood at 988-6088 or 622-6999, or BiH Holland at 988-6689 or 223-1308 for Information. South Tampa PONY Baseball will hold registration for players ages 4V2-16 each Saturday and Sunday in January from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Jan. 11, 18 and 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. Fee is $65 for first child and $50 for -second in family. Fee is $50 for Shetland players (ages 4Vi-6). An open house is scheduled Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Call Al Perez at 968-3665 for Information. Forest Hills PONY Baseball will hold registration Saturday and Jan. , 7, 14 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tryouts, required for the Pony and . Colt divisions, are scheduled Jan. 14 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Birth ; certificate is required for new players. Call 933-4975 for information. North Brandon Little League will hold registration Thursday from 6 to , 8 p.m; Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Jan. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. Children ages 6 and older as of July 31 , 1 995, are eligible. Cost is $65 for the first player, $40 for each additional child in a family. Birth certificate and proof of address is required. Call 689-6566 for . Information. North Antioch Little League will hold registrations for T-ball, baseball and softball Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jan. 10 and 12 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fee is $55. Birth certificate and ; written parental consent is required. .' Bloomingdale Little League will hold registration for spring baseball and softball Jan. 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Jan. 1 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. , ' Children ages 5-1 5 are eligible. Birth certificate and proof of residency , is required. Call Tom Crossland at 654-0350 for information. I The city of Tampa tennis program at Hillsborough Community College will conduct group and private lessons for juniors, adults and seniors at the beginner and intermediate levels. The seven-week program begins Jan. 9. Call Joe Hurtado at 977-1237 for reservations and information. Entered Dec. 7. Carrollwood Village Golf and Tennis Club is conducting tennis clinics for children ages 3-5 Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Call Rachel Stanton at 961-1366 for information. ' The Alvarez Children's Sports Camp for youths ages 5-12 is running . a two-week special for $55. Sessions are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and feature a variety of sports. For information, call 885-7529. FiHiSH LIHE Marina Correia of the Brandon Swim and Tennis Club won seven Girls 11-12 events and was second in another at the McDonald's Winter Classic earlier this month at the University of Florida. Teammates Christy Menendei and Erlka Vohnout won events in the 13-14 division. . Miguel Silva (1 0 light) and Ralph Valdai (1 3 heavy) of Tampa Judo and Jujitsu won their divisions at the Gainesville Open Judo ' Championships earlier this month. Bob Hoffman (men's heavy) was ' second. ; ES3 Tampa gymnast Jannifar Pokrana, the 1994 regional champion on the uneven bars, has been awarded a scholarship to Louisiana State University. She plans to study medicine at LSU. ill ,0i if jSSi I - 3 - ... ' - ' . 1 Airing it out Tampa's Nicholas Sakkis throws a pass during the NFL's Punt Pass and Kick competition during halftime of the Bucs vs. Rams game at Tampa Stadium Dec. 11. Sakkis placed second in the 10-year-old division. He advanced to the national finals of the competition in the 8-year-old division in 1992. CLIFF McBRIDETribune photo This year, Plant City's Michael Streetman was first in the 14-year-old division and Kevin Vaughn of Riverview was first in the 10-year-old division. After scores were compiled from the 30 competing cities, both finishers' scores were not high enough to advance to the national finals. EVERY SUNDAY more than 800,000 adults read The Tampa Tribune. "" LUNCH DINNER V J Friday Night Special . Grilled & Med , Salmon with Lobster Butter $8.95 saturday right ; Special Prime Res 10oz. $7.95 Prime Rib 14oz.$9.95 g 689-1959 230 Odcfield Dr. across from Brandon Hospital ENJOY A 'Symphony In Mitt" WITH THE WORLD FAMOUS LIPIZZANERSTALtlONS'igi The WNDERFUL WORLD Of HORSES ROYAL UPIZZANER STALLION SHOW A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF THE EQUESTRIAN TREAT OF THE CENTURY' Die Upimner Stallions sit horses of nobility - me Ultimate expression o; on m jvrm iraicn mies back to the 16th century. These magnificent stallions perform acrobatic maneuvers that no other breed of horse can equal. And rum, they art here for all to appreciate. Don't miss this rare chance to see them perform, including their AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND They have, after. all, been practicing for the last tut) years. O EnlcfUitiman Spociilott. Lid., Inc. 1994 Tue Jan. 32& 7:30 pn j Wed Jan. 42 & 7:30 pm Manatee Convention & Civic Center Palmetto, FL Tickets at Ticketmaster & the Civic Center Box Off ice Charge Tickets: (813)722-6626 'Subject to Service Charges' W0 3&.pN CHINESE RESTAURANT 2020 W. Brandon Blvd. (Next to Outback Steakhoute) 685-6381 We Deliver Mon.-Sun. 5 p.m. -8 p.m. GRAND LUNCH BUFFET ice cieam I Fruit Bar 50 32 Hems 7 Days a weak Mongay irrouon bunaay 11 00 a m. - 3:00 p.m. SPECIAL DINNER BUFFET 32 ITEMS 7 DAYS A WEEK 4:30-10 PM STEAMED SHRIMP & BBQ RIBS CRAWFISH OR MUSSELS ICE CREAM & DESSERT .95 SPECIAL FRI & SAT SEAFOOD DELIGHT PRESENT AD RECEIVE 10 OFF DINNER BUFFET MON-THURS. & SUNDAY Hillsborough County Public Meeting Scheduled Concerning Intersection Of Bell Shoals & Brookcr Hillsborough County will hold a public meeting to discuss improvements to the intersection of Bell Shoals and Brooker Roads, located in south Brandon. The plan includes adding left-turn lanes on all four legs of the intersection, as well as providing a traffic signal with pedestrian crossing signals. Drainage improvements also will be made. The project, estimated to cost $339,000. will begin in March 1996 and be completed in eight months. All interested residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and discuss the project. DATE: Thursday, Jan. 1 2 TIME: 6:30 p.m. PLACE: Brooker Elementary School 812 DeWolf Rd. For more information, please call Steve Valdez Engineering & Construction Services 272-5275 HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY Boatid o$ County CommUiioneJU T

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