ESU Spreads Smiles at the Special Olympics

Helen Bradley

Contributing Writer

Filled with superheroes and champions, Special Olympics was a day of fun and joy for all involved.

Held last Sunday on Oct. 7th, East Stroudsburg University opened up their facilities to Special Olympics of Pennsylvania and their 2018 Monroe County Fall Invitational.

The Sport Management, Education and Communication departments all joined together to plan, organize and host this successful event.

With the overall theme of ‘superheroes’, athletes were reminded that, “there is a superhero inside of all us, we just need to courage to put on the cape” highlighting the aim of Special Olympics to produce joy and courage amongst their athletes through sport.

The day began with an opening ceremony at Eiler-Martin Stadium.

Athletes were welcomed through a tunnel of cheering volunteers before two representatives from each county walked down the track to honor their participation.

Five different counties, Lehigh, Bucks, Philadelphia, Monroe and Berks, with approximately 400 athletes total filled the stadium.

The crowd was treated to a performance from the ESU cheerleaders and ROTC members held the American flag as the national anthem was sung by the acapella group ‘Vocal Variations’.

Coach, athlete and officials’ oaths were said, pledging themselves to fair, equal and honest sportsmanship.

The Olympic torch was run in to the stadium by an athlete and with that, the games begun!

Athletes dispersed to their sport’s locations and started warming-up.

There was a variety of sports with volleyball being held in Koehler Fieldhouse, 7v7 Soccer on Smith Street fields and Flag Football on Eiler-Martin Stadium.

Decorative, comic book-styled signs lined the sidewalks between each location, bringing the ‘superhero’ theme to life.

ESU Special Education classes also transformed the grass area between Koehler Fieldhouse and Linden Residence Hall into an Olympic Town where athletes could refresh between games and have some fun taking part in arts, crafts and other Olympic themed activities, such as throwing or kicking a ball through hoops set up in the Olympic rings design.

With more than 600 volunteers taking part in hosting the athletes throughout the day, this event was not possible without their help.

Events such as these, are fabulous opportunities for ESU and its students to grow the community and learn vital interaction skills. Both volunteers and athletes walked away from this day cheerful and full of joy.

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