July 28, 2021 | Updated: July 29, 2021

Special Olympics Texas athlete Tank Schottle brings joy and positive energy to everyone around him. You may have met him at a local event, a statewide competition, or you might even be one of his 100,000 followers on Twitter. He’s garnered a following that loves his daily words of encouragement, using hashtags like #TEAMTANK and #BeLikeTank. Tank’s bright personality and can-do attitude recently got him an invitation to throw out the opening pitch at the Houston Astros game at Minute Maid Park. On July 19th, 2021, Tank and his family made their way to the stadium for the pitch of a lifetime. 

“I wasn’t nervous because I was practicing with my dad every day prior to the game,” Tank said of the event. “Throwing the baseball was easier for me than throwing a softball because it is a lot smaller.  I was worried about throwing it too fast since I wasn’t sure how Orbit would be able to handle it!  It was exciting for me to be out there prior to the game with all the people in the stands.  Whenever I watch a game now, I can say I stood on the mound where all the pitchers are and threw a pitch.”

Tank’s father said “Tank is a joy to be around every day.  We get to see the joy he brings to so many people on social media and in person.  His love of life and people is contagious and that certainly permeates throughout our home all the time!  It’s also amazing that wherever we go, both in Texas and outside the State, there always seems to be someone who recognizes him and reiterates how he is making a difference in people’s lives. There is never a dull moment with him around. I would be amiss if I didn’t credit the support of the community, as well as all his followers on social media for contributing to the person he is today. Not to downplay the role of parenting, but it truly takes a community when it comes to those with special needs.  Inclusion and involvement outside the home requires this.”

We hope that Tank continues to reach those who need his message, knowing that he is bringing joy to so many around the world. Tank’s favorite sport is softball and loves playing outfield to catch fly balls. He loves fishing, playing golf, and working out. Tank said he is currently working on a weight loss goal and is working out everyday to continue to improve and compete at his highest level. We’re rooting for you, Tank!

Watch more in an ABC story on Tank by clicking here.