Father and son team up for past 12 years as coach and player in SOMI bocce

Jordan Cockrum, 20, of Midland has been competing in the Special Olympics Michigan for 12 years.

After Jordan's 8th birthday, he was eligible to compete in his group's softball tournament for his first SOMI experience. His team won gold that year.

Jordan has competed in softball, soccer, basketball, Project Unify golf, swimming and bocce during his 12 years. Jordan said his goal for the summer games is to win first place in bocce singles.

Having competed in SOMI bocce tournaments since 2012, Jordan considers it his top event.

Bocce is played with either a partner or one-on-one. The objective is to toss a ball closest to a smaller plastic ball called the jack. Players get four bigger balls to throw at the jack. The closest to the jack gets the point.

Jordans coach and father, Jerry Cockrum, discovered SOMI 12 years ago and thought it would be great for his son.

"I feel the Olympics is a good experience for him every year," Jerry said. "He's learning skills and making friends and teaching others the proper rules of the game."

Jerry and Jordan represent Area 30 at the Special Olympics. This year, they have over 50 athletes competing in bocce, bowling, aquatics and track-and-field. Athletes' ages range from 16 to 69.