Clarksville, Ark.-University of the Ozarks student-athletes recently joined hundreds of volunteers at Metheny Field in assisting with the 2013 Special Olympics Arkansas State Track and Field Meet held Thursday, April 25 in Clarksville.
Ozarks’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee led the way, teaming with Special Olympics Arkansas to help make dreams come true for Special Olympians from across the state. Events included walk races, run races, a softball throw and numerous other activities.
Over 100 Ozarks’ student-athletes participated in the annual event, as volunteers from all ten of Ozarks’ varsity sports assisted. Student-athletes helped stage the events, measured distances jumped and thrown, and timed the Olympians in the different racing competitions. Yet the student-athletes’ biggest contribution to the event was their support and encouragement.
“All I saw yesterday were faces that had pure joy on them,” said Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Secretary and two-time volunteer Whitney Lewis. “It really opened my eyes because the people involved in Special Olympics want to compete, but they want to have fun and enjoy themselves while doing it. People with disabilities can do amazing things, and it is such a rewarding experience for the volunteers.”
Ozarks’ student-athletes are no strangers to the Special Olympics program and participants. Aside from helping with the track and field event, the Lady Eagles softball team hosts an annual softball tournament at Hurie Field in the fall, and Ozarks’ basketball teams recently assisted with the Unified Basketball Tournament which was held on campus this spring.
“As a student-athlete, you should always try to give back and represent your school and your community in the best way possible,” said Lewis. “And I feel like I get more joy from giving than receiving.”
By Emily Black, Sports Information Student Assistant