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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pisani propelled by sports

By Andrew Soong

Special Olympian and West Island resident Louis Pisani seemed to prefer watching sports rather than cartoons at a very early age.
“Early on, when he was three-years-old and I wanted him to watch Barney, he’d be watching sports on TV,” said mom Kish Schmitz about her son’s attraction to sports. “We’d get a break at white sox games because he wouldn’t move for three hours just watching the game.”
Despite being diagnosed with profound verbal apraxia, Pisani has competed for two years winning the silver in his first year of competing and a gold medal in the novice giant slalom at the Special Olympics Quebec Ski Championships held this past March at Mont Garceau. The affliction that affects expression, speech and cognitive ability has not slowed down Pisani in his endeavors especially on the slopes. According to the 11-year-old skiing champ he is “not handicap.”
A member of the Owl’s Head Special Olympics Ski team, Pisani’s training is a family affair that began when they moved to Montreal from Chicago where they were involved extensively with the Special Olympics basket ball. However when they moved to Montreal, Pisani’s parents searched for an adaptive ski program for their son in Quebec and found themselves traveling to Owl’s Head every winter weekend. According to Schmitz before they knew it “it became a family affair.”
“It’s easy for me to go down [the slalom] fast,” said Pisani whose entire family including older sister Danielle volunteer with the team during practices and events. “My friends were fast so I wanted to keep up with them.”
Pisani is also like most kids his age, he attends school and plays on teams such as the West Island Lakers Bantam basket ball team in addition to collecting sports cards.
Moreover, Pisani is an avid fan of Chicago sports teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and White Soxs, that is also one of his strengths. According to Schmitz “it’s always been about sports.”
“We use sports as a motivation for spelling and home work for Louis,” said Schmitz about the young sports enthusiast. “He’ll struggle with spelling words from school, but can recite the batting order of the White Sox.”
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