Clarksville, Ark.-For the past four years, the University of the Ozarks Women's Softball Program has ventured off to the softball fields next to the Marvin Vincent Center for a Saturday of softball and fun.
The only difference for them on this particular day is that they were met there by competitors from the Special Olympics. Teams from all over Arkansas including Clarksville’s Forester Davis, a team from Pine Bluff, Friendship, and the winning team Abilities Unlimited came to participate. With four teams and two divisions in the tournament, everyone participated and made a difference on and off the field. The whole experience is moving for anyone that partakes or watches.
Senior U of O softball player Emily Burns from Lonoke has been one of the leading forces behind Ozarks’ involvement in the event.
“This is my fourth year to be involved with the Special Olympics and every year is just as rewarding as the year before,” she said. “I love being able to help out, it is a very heart-warming experience.”
The athletes that participate in the Olympics have a unique ability to make even the small things a great experience for everyone. During the event, the Lady Eagles were placed on teams to be partners, worked concessions, umpired, and kept score. All of these positions proved quite rewarding.
“It was a great opportunity for our women to help out in the community while representing their school in a positive way,” said head coach Laurie Adkins.
Junior first baseman Kelsey Stephens took the most out of the day saying “no matter what the athletes’ struggles were, they were always happy and positive; the whole experience taught me to never take anything for granted.”
The Lady Eagles will continue to help at the Special Olympic during the years to come.
By Sarah Otteman, Student Assistant SID