Last Saturday the Jones Center in Springdale hosted the 2013 Special Olympic Winter Games. Over 300 athletes from across the state competed in floor hockey and speed skating. The event was a huge success. The competition level was high and everyone was there to have a great time.
"Special Olympics is a huge part of the special Olympians life because of the acceptance," said Director Terry Weir. "We are all here together and we don’t’ see anyone different from anyone else and we believe everyone can do the same thing."
There were over 20 volunteers on hand to help make the games go smoothly. The volunteers all enjoy working the event and find it incredibly rewarding.
"It’s amazing," said volunteer and Greenwood Policeman Brandon Davis. "Getting to see these athletes is great, they are playing for the love of the game. They aren’t playing for money, they aren’t playing for anything besides the love of the game."
As Davis said these athletes play for the love of the game. While emotions and competitiveness run high during the game they all are there to have fun.
"We won once and we lost," said one athlete. "It’s not really for the winning it’s for the fun."
"I had a good time," said another athlete. "We didn’t win but it’s okay. We still have more work to do especially the defenders of blocking the puck."
The athletes practice year round for the competition in hopes of winning and advancing to higher tournaments.
"This is their super bowl," said Davis. "Once they qualify here and go to the state games, they have the opportunity to go to nationals. If they are really good they can move onto the world games. It’s an opportunity for them to really shine."
Forest City won the games and qualified for the national tournament.