"Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." ~ athlete's oath
Norwich Hosts Special Olympics Vermont Soccer Tournament
Calling it "a celebration of athletics, a celebration of the giving nature of the people of this state, and a celebration of service," Norwich Vice President for Student Affairs Michael B. Kelley welcomed more than 200 athletes to the Special Olympics Vermont Fall Games Soccer Tournament held on the Northfield campus on October 19. Speaking on behalf of Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider, Kelley said he was "proud to be a small part of this glorious day," and called the celebration "an event that brings together the best in all of us."
The full day of team and individual competitions began with much pomp and ceremony, as the Norwich Color Guard led ten delegations from throughout the state into Shapiro Field House, marching to the tune of "Officer of the Day" performed by the NUCC Regimental Band, led by Music Director James Bennett.
Next, Norwich Athletic Director Tony Mariano introduced the Regimental Drill Team, who entertained the audience with a long and nearly flawless rifle routine.
Following the playing of the National Anthem and Vice President Kelley's welcoming remarks, Special Olympics Vermont President William D. Porreca presented plaques of appreciation to Kelley and the Norwich Games Management Team, thanking them for hosting and organizing the event. More than providing a mere venue for the games, a team of Norwich physical education students was entirely responsible for planning and running the tournament, including publicity, contracting certified referees, soliciting sponsors, organizing volunteers, and a host of other responsibilities both before and during the event.
In a recent phone interview, Donna Diaz, Director of Sports for Special Olympics Vermont, praised Norwich Physical Education professor Geoff Davison - mentor for the Games Management Team - for his outstanding leadership. "Geoff is exceptional to work with," said Diaz. "He really empowers the students and charges them to do things."
Although Davison was unfortunately unable to attend the games due to illness, his team performed admirably in his absence. "They went above and beyond in their performance on the day," said Diaz, who had done some games management training with the class earlier in the semester. "They paid attention to detail, and they were respectful of the sport and of the athletes. You could tell they enjoyed the day as much as the work that went into it."
The Norwich Students who comprised the Games Management Team were: Casey Bell, Bill Callanan, Josh Clark, Leslie Conway, Genesee Dodge, Canaan Harvey, Kurt Knoedler, Heather LaBranche, Mario Linardo, Joanna Mitchell, Diana Monahan, Eric Murphy and John Stuffle.
After the reciting of the athlete's oath, the games were officially opened with the lighting of Olympic torch by the "Flame of Hope," which had been escorted on foot from the State House in Montpelier to Northfield by a team of Norwich University Cadets and law enforcement officers in what was called the "Cadets and Cops - Unified Torch Run." The four cadets who participated in the run were Kathleen Dues, Josaline Curry, Michael Hussey and Heather Mattson.
The ten delegations participating in the team competition were: Addison, Bennington, Camel's Hump Middle School, Castleton, Chittenden, DoubleU's-HCRS, Montpelier, Orleans/Essex, Rutland Intermediate School, and Washington. In addition, athletes from Addison, Bennington and Chittendon participated in the Individual Skills Competition.
At the closing ceremonies, the athletes were awarded medals and trophies based on their teams' performances.
For more information about Special Olympics Vermont, visit www.vtso.org/.
firstname.lastname@example.org, October 2003
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