Annual Adapted Sports Olympics
At 10 a.m. on Friday, April 24, the greatest athletes from around the Greenville area came together to face off in a three hour long battle royale. This battle was the Annual Adapted Sports Olympics. A multitude of special-needs youth and adults gathered at the Rec Center in anticipation for a day of fantastic athletic events. Volunteer students helped coach, support, and cheer on the athletes as they played a variety of different games and activities.
As each of the athletes arrived they were greeted by a group of GC athletes who cheered them on as they made their way into the Rec Center. Once everyone had arrived, Coach Barber had the athletes stretch to get loosened up and then the real fun began.
The athletes split up into small groups so that they could easily move around each of the game stations. There were 10 different game stations that each group rotated through. Some of the games included: basketball, soccer, mini bowling, high jump, and softball distance throwing. The more unique games included fishing for candy, throwing Frisbees at targets and face painting. One of the games included a colorful parachute that brought back some good memories from middle school PE. This game was a staple in my physical education classes and it involved everyone in the class grabbing an edge of the parachute that had several balls in it and quickly flapping it. Then everyone would raise the parachute over their head causing the whole thing to rise, launching the balls high in the air. It may seem like a simple and boring game, but it is much more fun when you play it. The athletes playing this game sure looked like they were having fun.
George Barber started the Annual Adapted Sports Olympics 16 years ago in conjunction with his HPR 356 Adapted Physical Education class. With a lot of hard work, dedication and help, he has kept it going all these years. Coach Barber expressed that the purpose of this event is twofold, “to allow my students real world experience in adapted PE, and to allow GC to connect with and host persons with disabilities in a fun and encouraging sport-like setting.” It was easy to see the value of this event while watching all the smiling faces and listening to all the laughter of the athletes. When asked if Coach Barber thought the event was worthwhile he responded, “Yes, it’s not really competition, but simply sport-like, active games, that get people moving and having fun! Everyone gets a tee shirt, new friends, encouragement and positive self-esteem.”
Everyone who was at the Annual Adapted Sports Olympics this year sure seemed like they were having a great time and the resounding cheering and laughter was proof of this. After rewards were passed out and team photos were taken, the athletes boarded their buses and made their way home. Everyone can’t wait for the chance to come back and play more games next year.