Oct 31, 2022 • 3 min read
Over the weekend, TeamSnappers from Colorado had a blast volunteering at the Special Olympics Colorado State Flag Football tournament. The event took place at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, with flag football teams from all over the state. The tournament hosted various ages and competition levels. The energy was electric, the fans were cheering loud and the competitiveness was off the charts as teams played for gold.
Events like this are a powerful representation of how sports can unite communities. Many of the teams present played their games at regional events throughout the season. Many players saw familiar faces this weekend and were overjoyed to see friends and players on other teams. Many coaches also encouraged their athletes to cheer on the other teams and instill the importance of sportsmanship. I also had the chance to chat with many of the athletes and coaches and enjoyed hearing about why they enjoy participating in the Special Olympics. Many of the athletes loved being surrounded with their friends on their team. These friendship include both the other players with intellectual disabilities and their unified partners who play alongside the athletes with intellectual disabilities. Coaches gushed about how important the Special Olympics mission is to them and the impact they have seen it make in their childâ€™s and athletesâ€™ lives.
People with intellectual disabilities can often be viewed as a monolithic group; however, this is far from true. Being able to attend a Special Olympics event or interact with people with disabilities, youâ€™ll quickly see how each of them have their own unique personalities and interests. Topics of conversation with the athletes ranged from the Denver Broncos and my favorite sport to painting and what I want to be when I grow up. There was also a young athlete who was part of a team that didnâ€™t have enough players, and a different team let him join their bench â€” watching his face light up as he was invited to be a part of the team was a beautiful reminder that we all have one thing in common: we to feel welcomed and included in every situation.Â