Web Extra! Simpson to host Special Olympics

by Alysun O'Brien

Special Olympics has chosen Simpson College to be its host for this years qualifying meet that will send some of the competitors to the state meet at Iowa State University in May.

“Simpson was chosen to host the Special Olympics because we are able to get kids in and out of the weather with our indoor facilities,” said Men’s Head Basketball Coach Bruce Wilson.

Simpson will be hosting approximately 750 athletes on Monday who will participating in various events at Cowles. The college is asking for approximately 100 volunteers to help with different events throughout the day.

“There will be no problem in getting that amount of people to help out,” said Wilson.

Volunteers will be doing such things as timing races, shagging balls, pushing wheel chairs and doing any general help that is needed.

“Students are somewhat hesitant to help at first,” said Wilson. “But when they get done they realize how good it feels to help someone else, and there is a need for community service.”

Wilson started volunteering with the Special Olympics when his son was born with Down Syndrome in 1990.

“I did it to inform myself,” said Wilson. “And what better way then volunteer help.”

Wilson continues to help out with the Special Olympics and will continue again this year. “Serving others is a philosophy that we should promote,” said Wilson. “If we want to have good communities then we need to volunteer. Plus it’s fun and you get paid twice without receiving a monetary award.”

Wilson pointed out that the benefits of Special Olympics goes beyond the athletes.

“Special Olympics shows us we need to appreciate things more,” said Wilson. “We take things for granted.”

This qualifying meet will send the first and second place finishers on to the state competition at ISU May 16-18. Some of the events kids can participate in are a 100 and 50-meter dash, a 25-meter walk, standing long jump, softball and tennis ball throw and more.

“This is important to the kids because this is qualifying not only participating,” said Wilson. “You see how much these kids have feelings for competition that a college athlete has. They have a will to compete and still judge their success on winning and losing, but more on just finishing and doing their best.”

Students interested in volunteering for the Special Olympics can sign up outside of the Student Development Office. The sign up sheets will list the different events and times that volunteers can work. Friday is the last day to sign up.