Last Saturday, Jan. 30, John Carroll University students and staff volunteered their time with athletes and administrators of the northeast Ohio NCAA Special Olympics. Deepwood and Berea-Brook Park teams played in a friendly basketball competition prior to theVarsity Men’s basketball game.
With the help of the JCU Athletic Department, Center for Service and Social Action and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, this event was a rewarding experience for students and staff to engage in.
This event benefited both the John Carroll and Special Olympic communities. It exemplified, as stated in the John Carroll student handbook, the value of athletics as an important factor for the overall educational experience. The student volunteers, some athletes and others not, were immersed into a diverse educational experience. The opportunity to work with such amazing people outside of the “John Carroll bubble” allows one to be both humbled and inspired.
The NCAA core values express a commitment to an inclusive culture that “fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.” This mission is one that students and staff of the University embodied as they watched the two teams have at it in an exciting athletic contest.
The volunteers, as well as families and friends of all three communities, showed sportsmanship both on and off the court. The relationships formed among the athletes, coaches and volunteers clearly enveloped John Carroll’s athletic philosophy.
It is often overlooked how athletics add to a positive and educational experience, yet this neutral game reminded those present how important sports are in the growth of individuals. There was an aura of excitement in the gym, and the unity was an exceptional reminder how a game is able to bring people together, from collegiate levels to recreational activities.