SHSU Host First Special Olympics

1 year ago Comments Off on SHSU Host First Special Olympics

This past Saturday, Sam Houston State University hosted its first ever Special Olympics event, a day long bocce tournament. The event, which was coordinated by Area 6 Special Olympics Director Rose Stewart and SHSU Alumnus David Kight, featured 153 athletes from 15 different counties.

The SHSU Council for Exceptional Children and SHSU chapter of Project Sunshine sponsored the event. Many of their members helped officiate the games and support the athletes.

“A lot of our buddies participate in Special Olympics,” Project Sunshine President Megan McCabe said.  “Because they are so close to our heart, we always want to make sure that we support our buddies and love on them. We just wanted to come out [to this event] to support and help any way that we could.”

Special Olympics includes a variety of different sports such as track and field and bowling. Saturday’s event, bocce, is a game similar to horseshoes where athletes play in teams or as individuals in order to toss their balls closest to a smaller ball, referred to as a pallino. Whoever has the closest balls at the end, wins that frame and the points.

Stewart said that their athletes enjoy the competition, but that they also gain more life skills on top of that.

“In Special Olympics, our athletes learn their value and they learn their worth,” Stewart said. “They even learn the importance of training, teamwork, and living a healthy lifestyle.”

Over a hundred student volunteers came out on Saturday to help officiate games, announce winners, act as crossing guards, and to help in any way needed.

“I had a blast with every athlete that competed in the tournament this weekend,” freshman Ty Kuykendall said. “The staff did a great job setting up the site and organizing the events. I loved everything about it.”

Due to the overwhelming number of student volunteers and support, Stewart said that she hopes to keep the event here for years to come.

“Everybody [here] has just been so helpful, step after step, doing whatever they can to keep it going,” Stewart said. “We love the facilities and we love the school.”