PAXTON, MA: Anna Maria College's Athletics Department took part in hosting a day full of Special Olympics community basketball games in the Fuller Activity Center this past Sunday. The event consisted of eight teams from all over Massachusetts coming together to play a total of eight games.
Special Olympics is about the real sports experience. They believe that sports are a powerful force that can shift the focus from disability to ability, and isolation to involvement. They offer the highest quality Olympic-style sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities. Their efforts change the attitudes of the athletes, those around them, and more importantly, they change lives.
The core of Special Olympics Massachusetts is to instill confidence, improve health, and inspire a sense of competition in its athletes. These events bring the power and joy of sport and shift the focus to what the athletes can do, not what they can't.
The eight teams that participated in the day's festivities were the Thrive Skyhawks, Milford Dribblers, Westboro Wallabies, Mass Jayhawks, Shrewsbury Colonials, Mass Celtics, Mass Super Swish, and the Mass Sure Shots.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, along with Assistant Athletics Director and head women's soccer coach Lindsey Garvey and SAAC Coordinator and head field hockey coach Brooke Bringham, helped to coordinate the event, "We were honored to host Special Olympics Massachusetts and aimed to provide the best possible game day experience for the players," said Garvey, "Today was filled with sportsmanship, energy, and camaraderie, competition, and fun," She continued, "SAAC has been a cohesive unit in preparing for the Community Games and I am so proud of their enthusiasm surrounding the event. They worked diligently to coordinate participation from all Anna Maria teams and generated outstanding support" she concluded.
SAAC took the lead in the day's event and ensured all staffing needs were met. Student-Athletes from every team on campus volunteered their time to help cover various jobs that included refereeing the games, operating the scoreboard, announcing games and lineups, playing music, and even coming to support as fans. The Anna Maria cheerleading squad was in attendance cheering on the athletes during all eight contests. Hannah Mitchell (Pittsfield, MA) SAAC President added her own sentiment about Sunday's games, "I feel that that the event went phenomenally! It could not have been done without the help of all our volunteers, executive board members, our advisors Lindsey and Brooke, and everyone else who was hands-on during the event," Mitchell continued, "we're excited and hope to work with Special Olympics again in the future".
Click here to view a photo album of the day's event!