Taylor hosts Special Olympics basketball tournament
By Natalie Nohr | Contributor
The KSAC bustled with the energy of 350 athletes and their families, supported by approximately 150 Taylor student volunteers at Take it to the Hoop, an annual Special Olympics basketball tournament. The tournament ran for over 13 hours, with the help of student referees, team hosts, scorekeepers, timekeepers and skill session volunteers.
Junior Macky Hecox volunteered as a referee. “This is like my favorite day of the year, because I love being able to do something that I feel adequate at,”Hecox said. “It’s fun being a part of something that other people love.”
Seniors Hannah Rathbun and Alyssa Bleitz end the day with one of their team’s athletes. “My favorite part is seeing the volunteers and the athletes interact,” junior Adam Witzig, Special Olympics co-director at Taylor, said. “You can love people in different ways, even if that’s just a smile . . . It’s shown me how big God is.”
“(The volunteers) do their best to help (them) with special needs . . . It’s really fun and (also) a way of getting active,” athlete Joseph Moore said.
“I just feel like it’s such a great experience for Ann to be a part of something athletic, active and positive socially where she is unconditionally accepted,” Karin Ulerick, Ann’s mother, said. “It is so wonderful for the kids, and I appreciate all the volunteers and the work it takes to make it happen”
One of the Wayne County Hoosiers athletes prepares for a game. “(I do it for the athletes), just seeing them smile . . . I could have a bad day, and hang with them and (then) it’s all good,” Wayne County Hoosiers co-coach Tommy Day said.
Juniors Rachael Fuller and Adam Witzig, Special Olympics co-directors at Taylor, take a break with two Grant County athletes. “I love being able to provide an opportunity for Taylor students to volunteer and . . . connect with people outside of Taylor who have diverse perspectives and have a really beautiful outlook on life and on loving people,” Fuller said. “The athletes and their families, they truly do love people so well, and you’re automatically their best friend, and I love giving Taylor students the opportunity to see that.”