July 8-10th we will host the annual Special Olympics Summer Games. Over three days we will welcome 900+ coaches and athletes in eight sports (soccer, bocce, basketball, swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, track and field, golf, and bowling) and a fun day for youth (ages 2-12).
Throughout the year we do many things that result in the essence of what we are about. Providing quality sport to athletes with an intellectual disability. As a tribute to the upcoming games and our athletes, we wanted to share with you “Why Special Olympics is important to me”, a letter written to us from one of our athletes who also sits on our Board of Directors – Natalie Branscombe.
“Special Olympics means the world to me. It has made me feel like I fit in. I can be myself, and am much more confident. I found out that it doesn’t matter if we win or lose, if we do our best.
Before I started with Special Olympics I played regular sports like Basketball and Bowling, and I didn’t feel like I fit in. People wouldn’t even talk to me, or recognize that I was there. I felt like an outsider. For example, I played on a girls’ basketball team and the coach wouldn’t even play me because he wanted to win, it wasn’t fair, it sucked. After the game I ran over to my dad and told him how frustrated I was that the coach didn’t play me, so he went to the coach and told him how upset I was that he didn’t give me a chance to prove myself. So the next game he put me in and I scored my first basket, and the crowd cheered. So when they saw me score, and the Coach played me that year, we won. It showed him that people with disabilities can play sports just like regular people, just a little slower, but just as good.
I then joined Special Olympics, and it was all different. I started playing baseball and fit in right away. I felt like I could be myself, and try my best, and not be judged. I learned a lot about teamwork, and how to have fun, and not to worry about what people think. After all I went through I could be myself, make friends and play the sports I loved, like Basketball, Baseball and Soccer without worrying about what other people think.
Since I joined Special Olympics I have 2 gold medals in the game I love, Basketball. Our team competed at in Vancouver for the 2014 Summer Games. I was pretty excited. Go Team NS.
I also got to attend the NBA All-Stars game in Toronto this year – what a thrill!”
I love Special Olympics, it has changed my life and my parents too!”
To learn more about our Provincial Summer Games or to volunteer please click here