Tom Moody: Inspiring Confidence and Health in Billings, MT

Meet Tom Moody, and a dedicated and seasoned athlete from
Billings, Montana. Tom’s 18-year journey with Special Olympics has been nothing short of remarkable. At 25 years old, Tom has embraced a variety of sports, accumulated numerous medals, and earned the prestigious role of a 2024 Health Messenger for Special Olympics Montana (SOMT). His story is one of perseverance, leadership, and a deep commitment to helping others.

A Passion for Sports

Tom’s athletic career spans an impressive range of sports,
including soccer, basketball, baseball, floor hockey, track and field,
swimming, bocce, bowling, tennis, and pickleball. His favorite sport is soccer,
which he plays alongside his older brother, Will. While they share the soccer
field, they compete on separate basketball teams, each bringing their unique strengths to their respective squads. This year, Tom’s basketball team celebrated significant victories, adding to his collection of medals.

Guiding New Athletes

Tom remembers the nervousness he felt during his first year
in soccer. Drawing from his experiences, he now dedicates himself to helping
new athletes overcome their initial jitters. His advice is simple yet powerful:
“Don’t be nervous; just do your best and have fun.” Tom’s empathetic approach and encouraging words have made a positive impact on many newcomers, helping them feel at ease and confident in their abilities.

Dreaming Big

Beyond his extensive involvement in Special Olympics, Tom dreams
of joining the USA Men’s Soccer team. This aspiration fuels his dedication to
the sport and inspires him to improve his skills continuously.

Becoming a Health Messenger

Tom’s role as a Health Messenger for 2024 underscores his
commitment to promoting health and wellness. His practicum focused on properly brushing and caring for teeth, emphasizing the correct techniques, angles, and commonly missed areas. Tom presented his findings to his team and conducted a demonstration at a MedFest event, educating others on the importance of dental hygiene.

Hydration and Fitness:

Focus: Ensuring proper hydration and maintaining fitness
outside of sports.

Advice: He often reminds his peers about the importance of
drinking water and staying active.

Calming Techniques

When faced with nervousness or stress, Tom employs deep
breathing exercises and seeks support from his friends or his mother. These
strategies help him stay calm and focused, enabling him to perform at his best both on and off the field.

Embracing Unified Sports

Tom cherishes the opportunity to meet new friends and
compete alongside Unified athletes—individuals without intellectual
disabilities who partner with those who have ID. He values the support Unified partners provide, helping athletes who are struggling to learn and grow. As a mentor, Tom focuses on ensuring that other athletes feel comfortable, inspired, and confident in their abilities.

Making a Difference

Outside of Special Olympics, Tom works as a courtesy clerk
at Albertsons, a position he has held for over a year. He takes pride in
assisting customers, particularly those with mobility issues or advanced age,
by helping them carry their bags to their cars. Tom also contributes to
maintaining the store’s cleanliness and tidiness.

Life Beyond Sports

Tom enjoys hanging out with friends, spending time with his
dog, and bowling outside competition. His highest bowling score, an impressive 223, reflects his dedication and skill in the sport.

In Reflection…

 

Tom Moody embodies the spirit of Special Olympics and the
impact of its Athlete Leadership Program. His journey from a nervous newcomer to a confident leader and Health Messenger is a testament to his resilience and passion. Through his involvement in a wide range of sports and his commitment to mentoring others, Tom continues to inspire his peers and contribute to his community. Billings, MT, is fortunate to have such a dedicated and compassionate advocate for health and wellness.