Patriot Profile: sophomore Jessie Tappan plays Special Olympics basketball

Siri Christopherson, Staff Writer

On March 5 and 6, sophomore Jessie Tappan competed with a team in Washington’s basketball Special Olympics. She played with nine other kids between ages eight and fifteen from middle and high schools in the Issaquah School District.
“[I was] kind of nervous to go out and play,” Jessie Tappan said. “It was funny; I always laughed.”
Jessie Tappan’s basketball team name at Special Olympics was the Issaquah Panthers. She has played on the team in previous years, but this was her last year on the junior team. Jessie Tappan described her team, which is comprised of both boys and girls.
“They like to dribble the ball down, and they shot, and they scored,” she said. “When the ref called them they got mad.”
Despite the referee, Jessie Tappan said her experience was fun. She drove out to the event, which took place in Wenatchee, with her mother, father, and sister. Her mother, Lori Tappan, recalled the experience with appreciation.
“Her team played in three games,” Lori Tappan said. “Though they didn’t win a game, they played hard and all had so much fun. Other teams even let some of Jessie’s teammates make baskets. It was emotional.”
For Jessie Tappan, it was an exhausting weekend.
“I got tired and I got sweaty,” Jessie Tappan said. “And then when we lost, I cried.”
Despite the grueling mental efforts, Jessie Tappan and her teammates took away an overall positive experience from their games. At one point, she had a spotlight moment on the court.
“I made a basket!” Jessie Tappan said. “I was dribbling, and I made it, and I shot, and I scored.”