The Hawk Football Team's community support effort for the Special Olympics turned out to be a great success, and a lot of fun for all. About 80 players arrived at Saddleback College Stadium parking lot about 5:00 a.m. They were served breakfast by the Quigley family, and then put straight to work before the sun came up, moving equipment and supplies to the different event venues across campus (track, tennis, and swimming just to name a few). After a few hours of hard labor, all venues were set up with the help of the Hawks.
The contestants and their families started to arrive about 9:00 a.m., clearly excited about the events of the day. The event began with an Olympic parade around the track showcasing the teams and individual contestants from different areas. Hawk Football players led each group carrying their area signs (see photo).
Hawk players then provided support at each event across the campus performing a variety of services ranging from lineman for the tennis matches to encouragement for the contestants.
The highlight of the day was when hundreds gathered for lunch on a nearby field. There was music playing from a DJ, it was fairly quite, hot, and food lines were long. Suddenly, one of the Hawk players went out onto the field in front of hundreds and began to dance, and he was great! Other support guys and girls eventually joined, followed by more Hawk players, and then competitors from the Special Olympics! It turned into a huge dance and it was awesome to watch (see photos)!
Another moment of note was when a young man climbed out of his wheelchair onto the ground and began to play catch with Garrett Denham. The young man threw perfect spirals from a seated position to Denham time after time. At that moment, the disability meant nothing. It was just two young men playing catch and enjoying each other?s company.
The event concluded at about 4:00 p.m. with the Hawk?s applauding for medaled contestants, and breaking down equipment. The boys were exhausted after a long day. In the end, I believe the Special Olympian contestants were more of a service to our Hawks players than the players were to the Olympians, demonstrating what true courage is.
A special thanks to goes Mike Quigley for coordinating a truly successful event.