Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bowling at Midway Lanes

Today I went down to Midway lanes in Binghamton to volunteer for the Special Olympics bowling tournament. There were around 120 bowlers using 34 lanes. They were broken up into teams and competed against each other. There was one volunteer for every 2 lanes making sure the bowlers bowled in the correct order and took down the scores for each game. Each team bowled two games and had their scores combined for a grand total score for the day. Out of those scores they were placed and received medals at a team ceremony. As the bowlers were called up to receive their medals I placed the medals over their head and shook their hands. They each had the biggest smiles and enjoyed receiving something for their efforts. They were so happy and grateful for what they were able to accomplish.

Having experienced a day like today is something I feel everyone in Physical Education should experience. It was really nice to see something, like bowling, could have such a great impact on someone. These individuals were so excited to be out bowling and competing in an event. The looks on their faces when they would hit the pins was priceless. If they got a strike or a spare, forget it, they were jumping up and down cheering. I would give them a solid handshake or a high five for every time they bowled a strike or a spare, I also gave them to those who didn’t. The support from family, friends, and the organization was also incredible to see. The entire day was 7 hours but it definitely didn't feel like that long. I enjoyed working with these individuals and I am grateful to have experienced such a humbling event.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Special Olympics Adapted Games

On Saturday, October 9th I made the trip back to Long Island for the Adapted games and let’s make a difference day Carnival at St. Joseph's college in Patchogue. The weather was great and there were a ton of participants. When I first got there I met the girl Faith that I have been speaking with over the phone for a while. She was a really nice girl that welcomed me right into the program. I started off at the registration booth checking in all the different agencies and individuals. There were about 15 different agencies from all over the island that came to participate. Most of these agencies consisted of adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. There were some younger participants that were independent and came in with their mother or father to play. After a few hours of registration I became the information desk where I helped direct people and had the opportunity to speak with many of the individuals.
Later on I moved into the gym and observed many of the adapted games being performed. The activities consisted of: bowling, javelin throws, ball throws, bean bag drops, basketball shooting, soccer kicks, batting tee, golf putting, bocce, balloon paddling, tennis, 10m walks, 10m standard wheelchair race, and 10m motorized wheelchair race. It was very active in the gym and there was a DJ playing music in there all day. Everyone was involved in the activities and having a great experience with them. I helped out with them when I could and assisted in equipment management.
I then got a chance to go over to the carnival and take a look around there. They had a huge tent up with all different kinds of food, arts and crafts, music, activities, and free giveaways. They also had a blow up bounce house that many younger participants went in, I was tempted as well. There was a variety act going on that I got to watch with a bunch of the agencies and had a great time doing so. Everyone loved all the events and especially loved that they got to take things home with them. Taking things home made their day and made them so appreciative.
All the participants were split up into two groups. One group spent the morning at the carnival and the other group spent it in the gym. Half way through they got to switch and go to the other section. This worked well so that we didn’t have too many people at the gym or the carnival at one time. At the end I helped clean up and pack everything away for the Special Olympics. I spent 9 hours for this event and it was worth every minute. Overall it was a great day and I am glad I made the trip back home to work with the Special Olympics Long Island Region. I met some great people, the participants and the staff were both very happy I came. It was a great day and I had a lot fun doing it.