SMBA at the Special Olympics!

SMBA '18 at the Special Olympics Spring Games
SMBA ’18 students at the Special Olympics Southern California Spring Games

This past Saturday, five students from the Sports MBA class of 2018, Amie Callaway, Kanta Ito, Forrest Lockwood, Nick Loewen, and Coley Mills, took the short drive up the coast to Carlsbad High School to volunteer for Special Olympics Southern California at their San Diego Region Spring Games. The five assisted with scorekeeping for basketball, officiating duties for bocce ball, and post-Games duties. Click through to see what a few of them had to say about the experience.

Nick:

This wasn’t my first experience working with Special Olympics, but it’s always a great experience seeing all of the joy that the participants get from a day like this. Lots of smiles, laughs, and high fives were had all throughout the day. The one common theme throughout all of these team events was the support that participants got from the fans as well as their teammates. You really got the sense that you were in a supportive and positive atmosphere – which is likely the most important aspect of an event like this. For me personally, the teamwork and positive reinforcement was the best part of the entire event. Who wins or loses doesn’t really matter, it’s the experience itself that matters. It was really nice to see a great turnout at this event and I’m looking forward to working with Special Olympics again in the future.

 

Coley:

Volunteering at the Special Olympics was a great experience that made me proud to be a part of. I was able to speak with a few basketball coaches and learn more about their teams and some of the things that made their players special. I then got the opportunity to keep score for a couple games and witness the tremendous athleticism that the players had. The athletes that competed have dedicated so much of their time and energy into their sports and really goes to show people can accomplish anything they put their minds to. It was a great insight into the Special Olympics and I’m looking forward to the Summer Games in June.

 

Forrest:

This was also not my first time volunteering with Special Olympics, but it never ceases to amaze me to see the joy on the athletes’ faces while they compete. I also had the opportunity to speak with a few of the athletes at these Games, and they are all so grateful to participate and be a part of this wonderful organization. It also impresses me every time to see the amount of manpower that goes into making each one of these events run smoothly. Practically all have volunteered their time, from the coaches to the venue staff, security, registration volunteers, catering – and that’s really just the beginning. These events really can’t happen without volunteers, and I’m just happy to be a part of it. I’m absolutely looking forward to the Summer Games next month.

 

Kanta:

All athletes played with a tremendous amount of energy and joy, and volunteers and the coaches also possessed a tremendous amount of energy. It helped me reinforce the thought that regardless of whether or not you have a physical or mental disability to enjoy every moment and to maximize all of your abilities both mentally and physically in order to make the most of every situation. I also loved that we had an overflow of volunteers there to help at the Special Olympics outside of our group. It shows that a tremendous amount of people can join together for a good cause and show harmony together.

 

As the SMBA students noted, the next big event that Special Olympics Southern California is holding is the Summer Games at Cal State Long Beach on June 10-11, and several of SMBA ’18 will be up there to volunteer their time as well. We’re all thankful for the opportunity to volunteer for Special Olympics, and we’ll see you in Long Beach in June!