By Lauren Trumbull
This article was originally published in Issue 11, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (March 24, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
DeSales will host the Eastern Pennsylvania Sectional for the Special Olympics bowling competition on Sunday, April 3. Special Olympics, which was created by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, is a worldwide organization that gives children and adults with mental and physical disabilities the opportunity to compete in a variety of sports. Special Olympics has a total of 3.1 million athletes in more than 170 countries; nearly 20,000 of those are a part of the Special Olympics Pennsylvania (SOPA), and 350 of those athletes will partake in this year’s bowling competition. SOPA participants engage in about 260 local, sectional and state competitions in three emerging sports and 21 Olympic-style sports.
“Special Olympics’ motto is ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,’ and I think this really sums up the mission of the organization,” said the leader of the event, senior Christina Calvano.
Athletes will first arrive at the DUC with their families and at 10:15 a.m. will watch the opening ceremony, which welcomes everyone to the event and describes the events of the day. Bowlers will then enjoy lunch at the DUC and will partake in other carnival-like games and crafts of the Olympic Village, all of which that fit this year’s theme, “Around the World,” before the bowling begins.
After this, the athletes will receive transportation to three bowling houses: AMF Parkway Lanes, Mountainville Bowling Center and Haja Rose Bowl, all of which are located in Allentown. The competition will be tournament-style, meaning that athletes play a different amount of games depending on the round.
“When each lane finishes, a small award ceremony is held and every athlete’s scores and place are announced, and they’re awarded a certificate and ribbon,” said Calvano.
Medals are also rewarded to whomever comes in first, second and third place during an award ceremony that will begin around 4:15 p.m. Winners of the competition move on to play in the Summer Games, a statewide competition, at Pennsylvania State University.
“My favorite part of Special Olympics is seeing how happy the athletes get when they bowl a good frame. They spend all year training for this event, and the joy they express when they get a strike or a spare is incredible,” said Calvano.
DeSales athletes are also taking part in the event. This year the men’s baseball, soccer, rugby and track teams as well as the women’s basketball team are volunteering at Special Olympics. Students will cheer on the bowlers, partake in numerous games and activities with them and help them keep track of turns.
“We also have a lot of entertainment from some of our volunteers on campus. Irish Step Club and the dance team are performing, three students who teach Zumba are coming to work out with the athletes and a DeSales senior, John Pinto, will DJ the event,” said Calvano.
The Special Olympics committee is recruiting other DeSales students to help out with the event, which has been going on at DeSales for 15 years. Anyone who would like to volunteer can sign up at the DUC during lunch and dinner.