Tori Pyley, the MotionballU Event Director, explained “Just because someone has special needs doesn’t mean that they can’t play sport or have fun playing sport,”. On March 10 Brock hopes to break down the barriers between Special Olympic athletes and students at Brock in its first ever motionballu Marathon of Sport Brock. All proceeds from the event are donated to Special Olympics Canada.
Motionballu is one of Motionball’s many initiatives. They also host Marathon of Sport events in 16 cities across Canada, galas to raise money, and have campaigns to end the use of the R-word.
While Brock hosted the Special Olympics Provincial School Championships last summer, this will be their first Motionballu event. Brock initially got involved in the event after a student learned about Motionballu while at the Kin Games. As the event was not feasible last year, it was passed on to Plyley to execute this year. In hosting its first motionalballu event, Brock joins the many schools who are already involved in the event such as Western, McMaster and Laurier.
“All money raised goes towards special Olympics and motionball is pretty big on breaking down the barriers between special Olympics athletes and other athletes. It’s big on creating an inclusive environment for all, breaking down the barriers of getting them to play sport,” said Plyley.
The Marathon of Sport event is a day filled with a variety of sports alongside Special Olympic athletes in the Bob Davis gym. There will be six to ten teams each consisting of ten players. Special Olympic athletes will be assigned to each team. These Special Olympic athletes come from high schools around the area.
Throughout the day, six different sports will be played: basketball, soccer, bench ball, curling, and two more sports that have yet to be decided. Typically, the last two sports are tailored to the interests of the Special Olympic Athletes participating in the event.
During the course of the day every team will have the opportunity to play each game once. The day will conclude with awards, with prizes for the first and second team, and each Special Olympic athlete will be given a medal and a certificate.
Although first and second place will be awarded, ultimately the day is all about having a good time. The games will not be overly competitive. “It’s more for fun than anything else,” said Plyley. She encourages everyone of all abilities to participate. “I think I’m obviously a pretty active person, but I’ve always been really big on breaking down the barriers of sports for everyone regardless of abilities. I think sport should be enjoyed for everyone.”
Motionballu Marathon of Sport Brock is intended to be a permanent fixture. The hope is that by having this as an annual event, the stigma surrounding sport for Special Olympic athletes can be reduced. “I am so excited for this event. I think it will be a very unique experience to be able to play alongside Special Olympics athletes,” said Ethan Pomeroy, a student at Brock.