Special Olympics: State Games

The State Games are 1 of 4 statewide competitions for athletes and coaches to participate in. For state games, you travel with your contingency on a bus to where the games are located that year. In my state you would stay at a college dorm. They stand as the host for the next three days of the competition.

The first night we go to opening ceremonies which is pretty cool! In our state we get a t-shirt and we have the opportunity to march in with our team. The volunteers, police, cheerleaders and all Special Olympic officials cheer as you walk in, high fiving all of us athletes. During the opening ceremonies they have the color guard, bagpipers, police and entertainment. A clergy member gives the invocation of prayer. An athlete then comes up to give the Special Olympic oath which is,” let me win, but if I can’t win let me brave in the attempt.” Then the law enforcement torch runners come through with flashing lights and sounds to announce their arrival to run in with other athletes to help light the cauldron. The lighting of the cauldron declares the games are open.

State games in my state is a three-day event Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday, we have the opening ceremonies and on Saturday is an early start to the morning where we are up to get ready, make sure we take our proper medication and have a healthy breakfast. From there we take a bus to the venue where the competition is held. We have qualifying rounds in the morning and competition in the afternoon. After your event you go to the podium to receive your ribbon or medal from law enforcement and volunteers.  We always cheer on our friends as they compete and get their award.

When the event is over sometimes we go to the Olympic village where you can get your feet, teeth, eyes, ears and flexibility checked, this is called Healthy athletes. You sometimes get a bag of goodies to take home with you as well.

When competition is over, it’s hot and tiring, we go back and relax for a while in the dorms until the coach tells us to get ready for the closing ceremonies. The closing ceremony is normally dinner and a dance where we hang out with friends. It is also where they close the ceremonies by extinguishing the flame in the cauldron. When we return to the dorms after closing ceremonies, we pack up for the next day’s departure.

Stayed tuned for the World Games!