Special Olympic athletes traveled from all over Indiana to come together in the spirit of community and basketball for the Take it to the Hoop event on Feb. 8.
There was something about the strong sportsmanship, perspiration and squeaky gym floors that created an exciting environment for the Special Olympics event.
Attendees competed in tournament play as each team played two games total, determining if they moved on to the next round. The environment of the entire event was exciting for both the players and spectators, as encouraging hollers and handshakes were exchanged by all.
The happy spirits of the athletes did not dampen the intensity with which they approached competition. Freshman Lynnea Humrichous reflected on seeing Chris, 35 years old, making every shot he went after. To reward such effort, referees handed out ribbons to all of the players, who received them with proud, beaming smiles.
Some players and families build up excitement for this weekend all year. Humrichous recalls one mother saying how they look forward to seeing old friends and bonding over basketball — one of her child’s joys.
The event would not have been possible without Taylor students who gave their Saturday to serve. Over 100 student volunteers worked shifts, while others served all day.
Guests were welcomed by volunteers who made it their priority to be a representative face for the university and most importantly, Christ. Humrichous not only answered questions, but ate lunch with the athletes and their families, letting them know that she was one of their biggest cheerleaders.
Freshman volunteer Tori Henning said she would do it again. This year’s Special Olympics was Henning’s first time serving at an event of this sort and she was not hesitant to express how much she enjoyed and was impacted by her time.
“Something like this is very serious for them,” Henning said.
The afternoon she spent keeping score for the games made more of an impact on her than she expected. Witnessing the men and women thriving in their element brought out sides of competition, intentionality and organization was exciting to be a part of, she said.
Freshman DT Taylor is part of the football team and volunteered as a score keeper and facilitated a skills competition. Teams could sign up for various skills training, including athletes taking shots from different paint lines. He also enjoyed shooting around with the attendees and interacting with them.
“You don’t do it for them,” Taylor said. “You do it with them.”