Daniel Block loves soccer and baseball. He also enjoys helping others. And it’s because of these two passions that he’s a referee, umpire and sports official for kids and adults who are training to compete in the Special Olympics.
The Arden Heights resident is 26 years old and has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As a sports official for the Special Olympics and other organizations, his job is to make sure the participating athletes are following the rules and having a great time as they compete.
As a lifelong sports fan, he loves everything from hockey to bowling. He says being involved in soccer, softball and baseball keeps him brushed up on the rules of some of his favorite sports.
“It keeps me in the game,” Block said.
Block has not only used his athletic talents for the Special Olympics and other organizations here in the metro area, specifically on Staten Island and New Jersey, but he also took his passion for sports overseas. Last year, he received a special assignment to be an official at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany, as a referee for the soccer event in June, an opportunity that he said was very exciting.
The Special Olympics World Games is a huge inclusive sports event. It’s where thousands of athletes with disabilities compete together. There were over 6,500 athletes, 3,000 coaches and support staff and over 18,000 volunteers from 126 countries in attendance last year. And lots and lots of spectators were there enjoying the competitions, too!
And for Daniel Block, it’s not just about taking his love of sports global. He’s also been a softball umpire and soccer official at other Special Olympics games in the United States, too.
But it’s not all about being a referee and making sure others are on top of their game. Like many sports buffs, he enjoys competing, too. He’s a participating athlete, striking up some competition in the sport of bowling.
“I’m also an athlete in Special Olympics bowling,” he said. “So because I do that, it makes me an athlete and official with an intellectual disability.”
Block practices his bowling skills at Rab’s Country Lanes on Hylan Boulevard. He’s been going there for over 10 years and helps others with their bowling techniques, so it’s safe to say he knows a lot about the sport.
So what’s next for Daniel Block? He’s got a lot of goals, and he hopes to one day compete in the Special Olympics World Games for bowling.
In the meantime, Block is striking up fun and progress as he continues to work on so many of his goals.
Wanna read more stuff like this? Get our newsletters packed with ideas, events, and information for parents in Staten Island.