Mayde Creek High School to host Special Olympics

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 3/31/22

With so many competitive school sports teams and athletes in the Katy area, the Special Olympics stands out.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Mayde Creek High School to host Special Olympics

Posted

With so many competitive school sports teams and athletes in the Katy area, the Special Olympics stands out.

The Special Olympics, created to provide sports participation to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, celebrates not so much who wins, because all the participants are winners. Instead, it celebrates the joy of participation and competition, which people can see for themselves at the upcoming Special Olympics Greater Houston Spring Games.

Opening ceremonies for the games are set for 9 a.m. April 9 at Mayde Creek High School, 19202 Groeschke Road. The event is free, and Greg Hess, a business coach who is a longtime volunteer, said organizers hope for a large crowd.

“We want everybody to come out,” Hess said. “It’s absolutely so much fun to watch these athletes compete. Everybody’s a winner.”

Aaron Keith, Special Olympics east region executive director, said about 300 athletes are expected at this year’s event.

“It’s a little less because people are still coming out of COVID-19,” Keith said. “It’s a big number, but usually we have 500-600 athletes. It’s still going to be a great day.”

COVID-19 remains a factor, and he said the Special Olympics are trying to maximize social distancing as best they can. Still, it hosted 40 basketball teams at a recent event and sigh-fair. Masks are not required, but anybody who wants to wear a mask is welcome to do so.

“We totally respect that,” Keith said.

Keith said track events range from the 1500-meter run to the 10-meter assisted wheelchair race. Track events also feature both unified and traditional relays. Unified relays, Keith said, are those that bring individuals with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities together. For example, a race might have two individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and two without, but they all compete together.

“It’s one of our big initiatives,” Keith said. “The relay breaks down those social barriers and stigmas of someone who with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We really found that bringing people without disabilities and having them volunteer and compete with those who do is the best way to bring down those stereotypes.”

Keith said field events include the shotput, running long jump and standing long jump. Other events include a softball throw and a mini-javelin throw. The mini-javelins are specially made so nobody gets injured, Keith said.

Hess said he would be announcing at the games, and performing other tasks as needed. He said he was willing to do whatever was needed.

“This just has a special place in my life,” Hess said. “I’ve continued this work all my life. It’s just a great joy and pleasure to see these athletes that have that smile on their face. They are loving something they do, and they enjoy it.”

Hess also said it was a big thing that a Katy school is hosting the games.

“It’s big for the city, and I’d like to see more city events and support Special Olympics,” Hess said. “The Rotary Club of Katy has put a grant in place to support this. Howdy Homemade Ice Cream is another one of the supporters.”

Keith also expressed gratitude for the district, the volunteers, and the sponsors.

“We cannot thank Katy ISD enough for supporting us,” Keith said.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here