Tonganoxie Special Olympian to play in state basketball tourney
Tonganoxie resident Tim Tice is gearing up for an important basketball weekend.
His team, "The Elites," will compete at the Kansas Special Olympics state basketball tournament in Hays.
And it's highly likely the 45-year-old Tice will help his team along.
At last Saturday's game at Johnson County Community College, he and his teammates earned gold medals.
"It was exciting," said Tim's mother, Shirley Tice, "Tim made seven baskets in the first game and he made two baskets in the second game."
Tim, the son of Merald and Shirley Tice, has lived in Tonganoxie all his life.
The basketball team he is on practices twice a week -- on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings -- in Leavenworth.
To area residents, Tim may be a familiar face.
He works for the school district. In his year-long job as a custodian, Tim works at the grade school, and he helps pick up trash on district properties.
He's in charge of keeping an eye on the grade school's paper recycling bins.
And in the summer he mows about 10 lawns.
Football regulars also may know the tall sandy-haired man, as Tim carries the chains along the sideline at home football games.
And there's yet another public position for Tim. He serves as a crossing guard on Second Street at the north end of Tonganoxie Elementary School.
Grade school interim principal Tammie George said she's impressed with Tim's work for the district.
"You ask him once and it's accomplished," George said. "He keeps a very positive attitude and he's friendly with the staff and kids."
Busy with churches
On Sunday mornings, Tim keeps busy as well.
According to his mother, he goes to Sunday school and church at Tonganoxie Christian Church. And then he attends worship service at the United Methodist Church as well.
Shirley said her son is always willing to lend a helping hand.
"If there's anything that anybody needs he helps out," Shirley said.
He's eager to help his parents around the house.
For instance, Shirley and Merald never have to carry out the trash. Tim does it for them, without them asking.
And if it rains while sheets are supposed to be drying on the line, Shirley said her son will beat her outside to bring in the laundry.
Tim also helps his mother prepare meals.
"He's my right-hand man in the kitchen," Shirley said, smiling.
Though Shirley said her son considers work to be fun, he also enjoys the local Gateway club, for people who have disabilities.
The group meets one Sunday afternoon a month.
"It's a little social outing," Shirley said. "We have singing, we have games and we have little Bible lessons."
Sports have long interested Tim, who used to play on his father's bowling league. He helped the team, averaging about 134 points a game.
Tim's highest game score netted 234 points.
Tim smiled and said, "It was five strikes and four spares."
Acts of kindness
Another of Tim's strengths is his kindness, his mother said.
"He is absolutely the most kind person I think I know and he's just always been that way," Shirley said.
And he has a knack for recall.
Tim used to work at the Tonganoxie library.
"He knew every book that they had and he knew if it was on the shelf or not," Shirley said.
He remembers numbers too, including telephone numbers.
"I use him for a telephone directory," Shirley said.
Behind the wheel
Tim enjoys driving shiny trucks, which he buys himself. Lately, his favorite truck color has been blue.
He readily admits a preference for Dodges.
And Tim has an excellent driving record.
He will not run a stop sign. Moreover, he's not shy about reminding others to obey the laws of the road.
"We'll be driving along and ... he'll say 'It's 50 miles an hour, Dad,'" Merald said.
Tim and his father have long shared an interest in basketball.
It runs in the family. Tim's sister, Debbie, was a standout player in high school basketball. According to Shirley, Merald worked with Debbie to help her excel.
And it's the same with Tim. Recently, Merald and Tim have been practicing basketball in their church gymnasium.
Tim approves of the extra time on the court.
"It's a pretty good time," Tim said with a gentle smile.