Valley Special Olympics athletes compete in Shenandoah Super Games


HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – Special Olympics athletes from the Shenandoah Valley competed Sunday morning for the Shenandoah Super Games.

Athlete Benji is all smiles after his soccer skills.(WHSV)

Athletes participated in soccer, volleyball and bocce competitions, as well as skills competitions. Most athletes, like Benji, were all smiles after competing.

“I love it,” he said.

Benji participates in soccer skills, as well as bowling. He has participated in the Special Olympics for about 40 years.

For athletes, Special Olympics is about learning, having fun, and encouraging teammates and competition. For some, the games can even take them away.

“I went to Athens, Greece in 2011 for Bocce,” said Jennifer Ruley, who is an athlete and coach.

Whether it’s your very first competition or if you have decades under your belt, you always have a cheerleader at Special Olympics.

“I think it’s really great to see everyone come out here and have fun and encourage sportsmanship among everyone,” said Bridgewater Women’s Lacrosse volunteer Maddie Magill.

Many athletes get together weekly to perform their skills and practice, so they can take home a ribbon at the end of the day. Volunteers may not get awards, but it’s worth it.

“There aren’t enough words in a day to explain all of this – the feeling, it’s so comforting. Just seeing them on the pitch and participating in something is…words can’t describe it. You have to be here to have that feeling,” said Zone 5 coordinator Alan Cale.

Ruley said anyone considering Special Olympics should give it a try.

“Athletes who have special needs, they can come and join. You just have to pass a medical examination [release] and you can come have fun and have fun,” Ruley said.

To learn more about Virginia Special Olympics, Click here.

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A team strategizes during halftime.(WHSV)

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