More than 450 athletes with mental retardation or other developmental disabilities participated on Lorain County Community College’s campus this spring in the Special Olympics North Section Basketball Tournament. This is the 17th consecutive year the regional basketball tournament has been held at LCCC.
Teams in this year’s tournament came from Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Wayne counties. Approximately 25 basketball games were played during the tournament by the 31 teams that consisted of athletes of all skill levels.
Special Olympics competitions are patterned after the Olympic games. Thousands of games, meets, and tournaments in both summer and winter sports are held worldwide each year. More than one million volunteers organize and run local Special Olympics events, serving as coaches, game officials, drivers, and in many other capacities. Anyone can learn how to participate through the many training programs Special Olympics offers for coaches, officials, and volunteers.
At LCCC, volunteers assist the tournament by as scoreboard operators, game bookkeepers, announcers and music operators. Other game-related positions include fans in the stands, vocalists and instrumentalists to sing or play the National Anthem. “Groups and individuals participate in the “Adopt a Team” activity – becoming its chief supporter and friend for a team throughout the weekend,” said Tom Dake, LCCC Special Olympics Hoops Committee chairman. “Special Olympics Ohio considers the tournament at LCCC as one of its best events,” said Joe Antonucci, North Section director of Special Olympics Ohio. “It’s because of the extra effort put forth by the local committee, volunteers and fans.”
The 2012 Special Olympics Basketball Tournament is sponsored by LCCC’s Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Student Life office.
Special Olympics Ohio seeks to provide improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence, a more positive self-image, friendships and increased family support for those with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. Special Olympics is an international program of year-round sports training and athletic competition for more than one million children and adults with mental retardation. Headquartered in Washington D.C., Special Olympics guides local, area, state, and national programs around the world.