Clayton and son Ezra Frech’s inspiration for the Angel City Games, and later Angel City Sports goes back to June 2013, when they were on the track at the Endeavor Games in Oklahoma City.
The Endeavor Games “exists to create equitable access to sport competitions for individuals with physical disabilities,” according to its website. The Frech’s wondered why they had to go to tornado alley for such programming, and why there weren’t more of those programs in Southern California.
So, they partnered with UCLA Recreation in October 2014 to bring to life the Angel City Games, Southern California’s own multi-sport Paralympic style competition and celebration of Adaptive Sports. The first Angel City Games was held in June 2015, with 150 athletes participating in Track & Field and Wheelchair Basketball clinics and competition and more than 1,300 attendees across the two-day event.
After the 2015 games, they pivoted to branding themselves as Angel City Sports, which today offers a year-round schedule of introductory adaptive sport clinics. Those efforts, led by Founder and CEO Clayton, are why Clayton was recently recognized as the Rams’ 10th pLAymaker honoree.
“First of all, total surprise. So thank you, Rams organization, for the honor and the recognition,” Clayton said. “Anytime you’re recognized for the work you do, that means a lot, because there are a lot of moments in working in the nonprofit space, in our space in particular, where you want to quit. It’s so hard. It’s hard to find sponsors, hard to find partners, everything about this is really challenging. And it’s a nice pat on the back, or a shove forward, to keep going. So yeah, means a lot and to be just recognized as innovating in changing lives, and having an impact is amazing, because our team is very, very focused on finding people with disabilities that don’t even know sports exist, and we know what we do changes their life once we can get him in the door. But it’s hard. So to have that recognition really means a lot, because we’re really trying to be innovative, we’re trying to be clever, we’re trying to be impactful, and it sometimes feels like we’re stuck in the mud. And so this is really amazing. I mean, the money aside, a really great honor.”