Friday, January 29, 2010

Bishop Champion Games hosted by Ohio Wesleyan University

Bishop Champion Games April 18th, 2010

Being a part of the Bishop Champion Games last year was amazing for so many. We had a day filled with fun and accomplishments. I was honored to see my fellow OWU athletes working with these special needs individuals with such kindness and love. It was a stressful few weeks leading up to the games trying to make sure that we had everything ready for the athletes to compete. We put long nights and countless hours into making these games a success. Despite this hard work, the rewarding feeling that came from the games themselves proved to be more than worth it.

The main objective of the Bishop Games is to spread the gift of athletics with all special needs athletes no matter their level of competition. We strive to give back the abilities we have been given as college athletes to those who are less athletically fortunate. So as a result, it is a passion of all who are involved to give those athletes with special needs, whether cognitive or physical, a chance to compete at historic Selby Stadium performing their favorite track and field events.

As a group, we want all those who come in contact with the event to come away with memories that will last a lifetime. It is a dream for this event to become an annual event hosted at OWU. We have high goals and aspirations for the coming year to make this event reach out to an even larger group of individuals from more diverse places. We want OWU to be a place where special needs athletes from the area as well as those from further away, feel like when they come to a game that they can wear their Bishop Champion Games t-shirt and proudly feel like they know our athletes personally.

An objective that we are working on for this year is to raise even more money so we can give the athletes even more free apparel and so we can improve the event itself. Last year the athletes received free admission to compete, a t-shirt, a water bottle with our logo, an engraved dog tag, and a gold medal for the winner of the events at each age group. The Bishop Champion Games touched the lives of 97 special needs athletes, countless parents and family members, and over 50 OWU student athletes who volunteered. We had families and athletes asking from the time the event started, “So when are we are doing this again next year?” The smiles on the faces of the athletes were enough to make all the work that we had put into this event seem to fade into pure joy for those lives we could touch. Joy and excitement just poured out of all the athletes. It was evident in so many ways.

The days experiences were inspirational, but just to give you an idea I will name a few: when athletes had the medal put on their neck by a college athlete, when a champion of the event along with the 8 top finishers got to stand on the special podium, when their name was announced over the loud speaker, or simply when they got to have a professional photograph taken with the Bishop. The last event of the day called the Bishop relay gave the athletes not only a chance to compete against themselves, but our very own OWU athletes ran in the relay as the anchor leg.

Everything about the day was perfect because we as college athletes were able to touch more lives than we could ever have imagined. So this year we are calling to our fellow NCAC schools and challenging you to join us to make this day a success. The NCAC is full of competent, skilled, and passionate individuals who we would love to see helping us with this event. This is an event that takes us away from our competitive roots, and places us on a common ground as athletes who want to change the lives of others. So I am looking forward to hearing responses, ideas, or interest in aiding us on our quest to make the Bishop Champion Games even more of a success this year.

One goal, one love, let’s make it happen.

Best Wishes,
Sean Patrick (link to a short article before the event last year)

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