As the sitting Hays County Justice of the Peace in Pct. 5, Scott Cary regularly has a full plate to work with.
But amid his duties as a JP, Cary, a former peace officer, also regularly volunteers his time as a basketball coach at Marbridge, a residential community that provides care for adults with intellectual disabilities.
Cary has been a basketball coach at the community center since 1995 and is about to go into his 22nd annual tournament with his team. The team has adopted the University of Texas mascot and call themselves the Marbridge Longhorns.
In the early 80s, Cary got involved with helping raise money for the Special Olympics through the Law Enforcement Torch Run with the Austin Police Department. Later, Cary and his wife Mary Cary started volunteering at Marbridge through his church, St. John’s Presbyterian, when the church formed a softball team to practice with the Marbridge team.
So when Marbridge wanted to get involved in the Special Olympics, Cary helped organize their first basketball team. Cary was the assistant coach to Hughie Shaw, one of the staff members at Marbridge who is still there today.
Cary says he likes working with his team, seeing improvement and bonding with his players.
“I like to see the joy and happiness when we work on an inbounds, and we work and work and work on it, and they do it during a game and they’re successful, it just really brings joy to me,” Cary said.
The Marbridge Longhorns meet for an hour and a half every Wednesday to practice like any other team would.
After pre-practice stretching and plyometrics, the team then splits up into an A and B team, which they call the green and white team. The two teams practice offensive and defensive drills, ball handling skills and shooting baskets.
“It’s just a normal basketball practice,” Cary said.
The team meets from January until the Special Olympics Texas basketball tournament at the end of May, usually held at the University of Texas at Arlington campus. Over the tournament weekend, over 100 teams compete in different brackets.
“Over the years we’ve done very well. We’ve won lots of gold metals,” Cary said.
One of Cary’s favorite parts about the team is not only the practice and the tournaments, but also the annual sports banquet St. John’s Presbyterian hosts for the residents of Marbridge.
“We have the sports banquet every fall and I’ve been the emcee for every one of them. We give individual trophies, and those are fun times,” Cary said.
Cary says Marbridge staff members also deserve recognition and thanks for their success.
“It’s more like a college campus more than a home for mentally challenged individuals. A lot of kids when they age out of the school system, their parents look for a place for them, and Marbridge has nothing but good things said about it,” Cary said.