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Special Olympics - A Lesson In Courage

Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 by Tom Finley
The Hawk Football Team's community support effort for the Special Olympics turned out to be another great success. About 90 players participated in the event at Saddleback College Stadium, arriving in waves throughout the day, beginning at 6:00 a.m.

Head Football Coach Bruce Ingalls attended the event expressing his support for the Special Olympians, their families, and the committed coaches and volunteer staff.

The players were put straight to work 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 athletes and their families started to arrive about 9:00 a.m., clearly excited about the events of the day.

The event began with a moving ceremony that included Hawk player Matt Martindale jogging a lap with an Olympic competitor, ending with the lighting of the Olympic Torch (see photo). The Special Olympics athlete was not quite tall enough to light the torch on her own. Matt quickly recognized this, and gracefully stepped up next to her allowing her to hold onto him as they lit the torch together. It was a moving moment.

The opening of the games concluded with an Olympic parade around the track showcasing the teams and individual contestants from different areas. Hawk Football players led a number of groups carrying their area signs (see photos).

Hawk players then provided support at each event across the campus performing a variety of services ranging from equipment placement, trash pick-up, to encouragement for the athletes.

The event concluded at about 4:00 p.m. with the Hawk's applauding for medaled contestants, and breaking down equipment. I believe the Special Olympian contestants were more of a service to our Hawks players than the players were to the Olympians, again, reminding us what true courage is.

A special thanks to goes Mike Quigley for coordinating a truly successful event.

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