Meridian Star

Sports

May 8, 2014

Dasis ready for Special Olympics

Butler, Ala. — Going to nationals is nothing new for Danny Dasis, but he never grows tired of the experience, he said.

Dasis, 33, who has Down Syndrome, recently earned a spot in the Special Olympics USA Games in June near Princeton, N.J. Dasis, a Mississippi Area 5 Special Olympics athlete, will compete in golf, a sport he’s grown to enjoy since the mid-1990s.

No stranger to the national Special Olympics scene, Dasis first won a gold medal in 1995 at the World Games in Connecticut in golf — the same year they recognized golf as an official Special Olympics sports.

“He plays against some very high-functioning golfers and holds his own,” Danny’s father, John Dasis, said. “In all the sports he’s competed in, he’s won over a hundred medals.”

Though swimming is his first love, Danny won’t be competing in swimming this year. As much as he loves getting in the water, Danny said he enjoys golf, too.

“I get to play with friends like David and Stephanie,” Danny said. “Also, I like to beat Daddy.”

John explained his son beats him “half the time” when the two square off, and Danny typically shoots between a 45 and 55 in nine holes. John also said he doesn’t give Danny any kind of leeway when deciding the winner.

“He has to win the hole to beat me,” John said. “He can’t tie, but I do let him tee off first when we tie a hole.”

In 1995, Danny first picked up golf learning an instructor named Billy Davis, who taught Danny four basic things as a foundation: keeping the hands close together, bending the knees, keeping the right arm close to the body and swinging toward the target. Once the repetition became familiar for Danny, the younger Dasis had a new hobby.

“Once you get in his head — or the computer, as I like to call it — what he has to do, he’s got it,” John said.

John said the rules in Special Olympics golf is the same as the pros, with the only difference being that they shorten the golf course. Giving Danny a chance to compete and meet new friends, all while helping build self-esteem for the athletes, has made Special Olympics an invaluable experience for Danny, John said.

“It’s the greatest organization in the world for handicapped people,” he said.

No matter how many times he goes to nationals, Danny said it never gets old.

“I like it (every time),” Danny said. “I love the dances and the babes.”

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