The Queen’s Athletic Recreation Centre is home to some of the top university athletes in the country, but on Sunday, another set of athletes got to enjoy the limelight during the annual Motionball event in support of the Special Olympics.
“Motionball is something that Canada and the rest of the world need to more of,” said organizer and Queen’s student Josh Ehrlich. “You can see the direct evidence just by watching these Special Olympic athletes walking into the room.”
The event, which has been hosted in more than 30 cities since 2002, is a one-day sports tournament. In this case, it paired 145 varsity athletes with local Special Olympians to compete in a variety of sports, including soccer, football, basketball, floor hockey and much more.
“It’s to help people with mild intellectual learning disabilities. It’s a great day where you get to have lots of fun with your family and friends,” said Special Olympics athlete Lindsey Trafford.
During the event, Trafford was in it to win it: she even scored the first floor hockey goal of the afternoon, something that doesn’t surprise the local organizers.
“While the day is all about fun and having a blast, the Special Olympic athletes get us really hyped up and get us into the game,” Ehrlich said.
“They want to win so we’re here to bring them a true day of sports,” he added.
But in order to continue their athletic pursuits, Special Olympians need cash to cover the associated costs of participating in organized sports.
Participants pay a registration fee, and the teams pledge and fundraise. Seventy per cent of all funds raised go to the Special Olympics.
Last year, Motionball raised $18,000; this year, the group had raised more than $22,000 before the games even got underway.