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The co-head coach of the Valley Rollers 10-Pin Bowling Club is being recognized as the 2017-2018 Male Coach of the Year by Special Olympics Manitoba.

Chris Sumner has been involved with the team for seven years, joining after attending an information session 2011.

"It's humbling, I know it's cliche to say it's humbling, but it is," Sumner said about receiving the award. "It makes me really proud, it makes me blush a little, and I know it makes my athletes very excited ... it just validates all of those hours you put in making up teams and planning tournaments and all that kind of stuff."

Since 2011, Sumner's position has taken him many places, including the Vancouver Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in 2014 where he spent his time as assistant coach for Team Manitoba.

Valley RollersThe Valley Rollers 10-Pin Bowling Club is based in Winkler and has around 45 athletes.

He said one of the highlights of being a coach is seeing growth among the athletes. For example, when one of the athletes from the Valley Rollers club, Steve Klassen, was selected to compete in Vancouver.

"Over the preceding year leading up to those games in (2014), there was a ton of growth for Steven, because obviously he had to maintain his level of bowling and improve it so he had a better chance to win a medal at Games, and he definitely did that with his dedication to practices," Sumner said. "Yeah their scores have improved and the athletes have gotten better on the alleys, but where I really get excited is where you see them improve in their interpersonal relationships amongst the athletes and the coaches."

It's part of the reason Sumner is motivated to continue coaching.

"They bring a level of energy and a level of positivity and sunshine that you can't find in a lot of places in this world anymore," he said.

Sumner was nominated by Central Region and will receive the award in September.


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