Special competition this Saturday in Culver

PLYMOUTH — Athletes were preparing Saturday at Lincoln Junior High School for a very special competition that will take place Saturday, May 7 at Culver Military Academy’s track field. Adults from the Marshall-Starke Special Olympics team were practicing their individual sport and setting their best times for the upcoming competition.
Each will compete in several events ranging from running long jump, relays, javelin throw, shot put, softball throw, and 400-meter walk, to name a few. Those 30 and older will also compete in Bocce.
Edie Hastings, coordinator for the Marshall-Starke Special Olympics, has been with the program for more than 30 years. She also has experience with children with disabilities as she is the K-6 Special Education teacher for Argos Elementary School. She explained that her role is to “make sure events get done throughout the year.” In the early fall, bowling and distance walking is offered; in the winter there is basketball; in the summer, softball; and in the spring, the track and field events.
“There are 70 to 80 individuals that Marshall-Starke serves,” Hastings explained. “Not all are involved in the Special Olympics.”
She said that being involved in the S.O. program is very important to those that take part in the competitive events. “It helps their confidence, Hastings said. “It makes them more independent and when they are involved … the changes they go through … its amazing. We’ve had autistics that this has brought out of their shell. It helps their self-esteem to do something that they see ‘normal’ people do.”
She shared that she has seen a runner fall during an event and all the other competitors stopped to help the runner up or ask if the were OK. “Their empathy is unbelievable.”
Registration for the event begins at 9:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. and the preliminary events start at 10:15 a.m. The event will go on rain or shine (indoors if there is rain) and the Academy cadets will have concessions available.
For more information call Hastings at 574-892-5136 ext. 108 or 574-721-9822.