Expanding on the success of last year’s event, the Special Olympics Board invites the community to enjoy not one, but two back-to-back, action-packed games.
“The purpose of the game is to raise aware of developmental disabilities, because we have found that the best way to increase awareness is for people to interact one-on-one,” said Julie Monroe, community services director for the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and local coordinator for the Special Olympics.
Special Olympics players range from ages eight and older.
“They love it. They get very charged from it. It really acts as a way to increase their self esteem and their feeling of belonging in the community. They love interacting with the people and meeting the people, and of course playing at Shawnee State is exciting for everyone,” Monroe said.
Tipping-off at 3 p.m., the first game will be the Scioto County Special Olympics team, The Shooting Stars, in an exhibition game against the Ross County Rebel Enforcers. The second matchup begins at about 4:30 p.m., featuring Special Olympics volunteers against coaches from local area sports teams. Nearly every local school system will be represented.
Coaches participating in this year’s celebrity basketball game are Kyle McKnight, formerly of Notre Dame, JD McKenzie of Notre Dame, Mark Villinger of Valley, Dan Stanley, Amy Hughes , Shane Ray and Eugene Collins of Portsmouth, and Antoine Moore and Brandon Entler of the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
“I’d like to see more support for special-needs kids in our area. I think the Special Olympics is a super venue to help showcase these young athletes out there trying to do their best. And it’s a lot of fun for them. You can see the joy in their face and whenever you see them smile, it makes you smile,” McKnight said.
Between the two games the audience can participate in free-throw contests and split-the-pot and door prizes will be given away for basketball fans of all ages. Gates open at 2:30 p.m., and tickets will be sold at the door for only $1 each.
“If you like basketball and you like supporting kids in your community – especially the special needs kids – then come out and watch the ball game and donate some money,” McKnight said.
For more information about this special event, or other services for people living with developmental disabilities, contact the Community Services Office of the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities at (740) 353-8448.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.