By: Josh Caredeo, Sports Editor
Special Olympians of all ages were on hand at Lyndon State College’s Rita Bole Gymnasium for their weekly basketball practice on Tuesday night. Lyndon’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, composed of at least two members of each of LSC’s varsity sports teams with assistance from Associate Athletic Director Kate Roy, are in charge of putting together this gathering. I sat down for a one-on-one interview with Roy on Thursday afternoon. “One of our missions as a committee is community service, and the Special Olympics is one of those things that fits right into what we are trying to do,” said Roy.
Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has a partnership with the Special Olympics.
Last fall, Lyndon State College became an official college sponsor of the Special Olympics, partnering with the Caledonia County chapter. “There are two coaches named Frank and Dan who are a part of the Special Olympics; then there are some student athletes and student volunteers from LSC that come to this gathering,” said Roy. Roy also noted that what happens at the practices are up to both parties involved. When any one member of the committee has a suggestion or idea for a drill, it is incorporated into the practice. Some drills that are carried out on the court include sprinting, rebounding, and layups. Following these drills, the players are split into two teams and they simulate game action.
Witnessing this event for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by the competitiveness of most of players out on the court. “We are passionate about sports; they are passionate about sports; that is what it’s all about, and it’s awesome,” Roy said. She also pointed out that not only this program promotes physical activity, but it involves the participants with campus life, which is an enlightening experience.
Members of the Special Olympics have been practicing at LSC since January, and this program will continue through mid April. The group is preparing for their first tournament action at Johnson State College on Saturday, and at Norwich next Saturday March 26. In April, they will be partaking in the State Tournament at the University of Vermont. To help out, please contact Kate Roy at Katherine.Roy@lyndonstate.edu.