For the thirty-second year in a row, the Northern Rhode Island Special Olympic Games are back at Bryant! This event, held annually is one of three regional games in Rhode Island, the others being Salve Regina University and Bishop Hendricken High School, and competitors from these games all head to compete at the state games at the University of Rhode Island.
This year, the games at Bryant are scheduled for Saturday May 5th at the track and the football stadium, and this event is a focal point for campus coming together for a great cause. These athletes spend all year practicing their track and field events, and this year, it’s slated to be the best yet!
For those of you who don’t know, the Special Olympics organization is a massive international organization featuring athletes with disabilities from all over the world. The world games are an international event, and this amazing organization was originally founded in the mid 1970’s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in the spirit of her sister Rosemary. In these games, people with disabilities compete in a wide variety of athletic events, everything from soccer to track and field, to tennis and more traditional Olympic events, such as swimming. Here at Bryant, our event is focused around track and field, but we also have an exciting volleyball tournament as well.
So what can we as students do to help? The best thing I can recommend for people to do is to volunteer. There is a massive amount of logistical planning and execution that needs to happen on the day (Saturday May 5th) and the Special Olympics committee needs an army of volunteers to help! There are all sorts of volunteer jobs to do, such as grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for the spectators and athletes, or timing the various track and field events that happen, or simply being there at the finish line to cheer for the athletes. No matter what your skills or interests, there will definitely be something for you to do!
Now, I could continue on to give you further reporting about the event, but I think it’s probably better if I gave more of a personal perspective of our games here. If you haven’t been a part of the games as volunteer or committee member, I can vouch and say that the day of games is my favorite day of the year.
Watching these amazing people succeed athletically and earn medals is easily the most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of at Bryant. In my various roles on the committee and executive board over the years, I can confidently say I have never loved any campus organization more than the Special Olympics Committee.
On our day of games last year, I was so moved when I watched the first group of athletes win their medals; I was completely reminded of why we as a committee worked so hard to make the day happen.
Now what could be a better way to spend a Saturday than doing something incredibly rewarding and moving?
Interested volunteers should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.