Izzi Metz, head coach of the Statesmen basketball team, took members of the Colleges’ basketball, squash and hockey teams to the opening ceremony of New York’s Special Olympics to cheer on the Special Olympic athletes. On Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1 and 2, the Special Olympic Games were held in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
This was one of three games held each year throughout New York; Special Olympics New York is the largest program in the U.S. and the sixth largest program in the world. With nearly 900 athletes and coaches attending the games this fall, 1,000 volunteers were asked to help support the event.
According to Special Olympics New York, the organization provides “year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
The positive reinforcement gained from these days of friendly competition can easily be carried into other settings, such as the classroom, the home, or the community. It was a rewarding experience for both the participating athletes and the volunteers.