– An athlete’s reflection on the State Outdoor Sports Tournament.
August 7th, 2021, marked a very special date for many Special Olympics athletes including myself. It was a day that many will remember for being the first taste of state competition from a nearly year-long hiatus, due to the restrictions brought on by a global pandemic. It will be remembered as the return of one of the true core values of Special Olympics: competition.
Our first time being together with our teammates and coaches to experience the highs and joys of playing the sports we love most. For me, it was almost surreal to hear the announcers over the loudspeakers, the cheers and chatter from the crowds, almost like I forgot how they sounded. I was there playing softball for my hometown of Manitowoc, but other sports like tennis and bocce were also being played.
I sorely missed going out onto the field with my friends and coaches, but playing softball gave me everything I wanted and more. Being able to play with and chat with other athletes was one of my favorite things to do at events like this, so being able to communicate face-to-face again was another aspect that I really enjoyed about the Outdoor Sports Tournament.
While I was there I also stopped by the events at Carroll University, which included SOWI’s Healthy Athletes program (free health screenings), and as someone who cares about their own personal health, it was great to have a checkup!
I would like to end off by giving a huge thanks to all who helped organize the event. It means the world to us athletes to have sports competitions because it allows us to make connections and do the things we love.
I would also like to give thanks to the members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, your presence helps us athletes feel safe, and it is always great seeing LETR members at events.
Watch as the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics show their support of the 9,000 athletes of Special Olympics Wisconsin by carrying out Final Leg events across the state!
After such a great time at the outdoor sports tournament, I am looking forward to what’s to come for the rest of 2021.
– Lucas Smith