Special Olympics Maryland marks its 47th Summer Games with new community events and competition on TU's campus.
This weekend, Towson University becomes Special Olympics central as 1,400 athletes gather on campus to compete in the 2017 Summer Games.
Competition will kick off at 10 a.m. Friday in the Towson Center and continue through Sunday afternoon with bocce, cheerleading, track and field, swimming and softball.
Participating athletes have trained for months — and even years — to qualify for the competition. Twins Bruce and Mark Whorley from Columbia train year-round, running half marathons and marathons alongside their father John. But the training is worth the effort — softball player Nick Malouf from Howard County says joining the team and getting accepted for who he is made him finally feel like he belonged to something.
The fun isn’t only for the athletes. This year, the Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program is hosting a family-friendly open house where children aged two to seven with and without intellectual disabilities can play and learn more about sports. The open house will take place Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Towson Center. It is free and open to the community.
Assisting throughout the weekend are more than 150 TU volunteers who help make the games a reality. TU has hosted the Summer Games for 39 out of its 47 years.
“We couldn’t pull off the quality of games without the support of TU,” said Jason Schriml, Vice President of Communications and Brand Management for Special Olympics Maryland. “Everyone at TU, from the events crew to the administration to the athletics department, has the best interest of the athletes in mind at all times.”
Towson University's Event and Conference Planning team sees that the Special Olympics fits its name; it is special. Jim McTygue, director of Event and Conference Services, explains it is the only event he does not “need to twist arms to get things done.”
McTygue has been overseeing the Special Olympics Summer Games since 2006, and says his first time ever working the games was eye opening.
“I never realized how important the games are to our special athletes. I was hooked from day one of the games,” he said.
The Summer Games competition schedule is below; additional information is available at http://www.somd.org/summergames/. For information on volunteering in this year’s games, contact Jeff Abel at email@example.com.
|Time and Date||Event||Location|
|10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday, June 9||Cheerleading||Towson Center|
|5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 9||Block Party||Lot 20|
|7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 9||Opening Ceremony||SECU Arena|
|8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Swimming||Loyola Blakefield|
|8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Bocce||TU Soccer Fields|
|8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Softball||TU Softball Facility & Cockeysville Middle|
|8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Track & Field||Unitas Stadium|
|10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Young Athletes Program Open House||Towson Center|
|5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 10||Softball and Home Run Derby||TU Softball Facility|
|8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11||Swimming||Loyola Blakefield|
|8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11||Bocce||TU Soccer Fields|
|8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 11||Softball||TU Softball Facility|
|8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 11||Track & Field||Unitas Stadium|