The local Special Olympics started a unified sports league last year, starting with soccer. Area Director Mike Strickland was inspired by similar events in other parts of the country and saw this weekend as a great opportunity.
“When I heard that MSU was playing West Texas A&M for their homecoming game, I thought what a cool idea if we brought in West Texas A&M for a flag football game, so that’s how this got started,” Strickland said. “Special Olympics Incorporated across the nation have rivalry games like this. It’s more a less a fundraiser so we want to get our foot in the door for something like that in the future.”
Members of the Football team and the cheerleaders were there to show their support for the athletes competing.
“We are taking the things that we learned and we are teaching them. They really already know a lot, so it’s really good for us and it’s good for them as well,” said Jakari Domino, an MSU Receiver.
“Honestly, it’s just a lot of fun. Their energy that they have is definitely contagious and we are feeling all of that,” said Mark Benoit, an MSU Cheerleader. “I think it raises awareness for things like this and makes everyone feel like they are a part of something. Just being together as one and being together as a community.”
It also means a lot to the athletes to have the support from MSU
“O it’s huge to have that component added to it,” Strickland said. “It makes our athletes feel even much higher than they already feel. It makes them feel like they are really part of this university. It was really cool to have that.”
If Strickland has his way there will be plenty more games like this in the future.
“We also want to see more games like this pop up all over the state and I would love to see us one day host a tournament with different universities come in,” Strickland said.
The team from West Texas A&M did take home the win today. For more information on upcoming events for Special Olympics click here.
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