Special Olympics basketball event set for Saturday at QU

By David Adam Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 3, 2016 12:01 am
QUINCY Twelve
teams from WestCentral
Illinois will be at the Quincy University Health and Fitness
Center on Saturday for a Special Olympics basketball tournament.
Approximately 150 athletes and 50 coaches and chaperones are expected to participate. Teams are
coming from Area 11, which consists of the most western counties in Illinois.
Games will start at 9:30 a.m., and the final game will be played at 2:30 p.m. The Exchange Club of
Quincy is the host of the event, and several club members will be volunteering as officials and
scorekeepers.
Heather Davis, Area 11 director, says teams are coming to Quincy to help qualify for district
competition. Teams must have at least three scores submitted to participate in district tournaments in
January, and the teams playing in the Quincy event are guaranteed at least two scores.
Davis says players of all ages and skills with a wide range of disabilities will be on the courts Saturday.
“When our athletes start in basketball, they’ll practice skills like shooting and dribbling, and then they
can join a team,” she said. “Some people use basketball to simply learn the rules, or maybe for social
interaction or to get used to competition.”
Teams are grouped by ability, and the groups have no age cap.
“You may see someone quite a bit older against someone younger, but their practice averages are about
the same,” Davis said.
Davis said the Quincy Public School system is developing a Special Olympics team this year. The team
practices on Monday nights at St. Boniface School.
“If you have a child who wants to play but is not part of a school system that has a team, I can put you
in touch with the nearest county team,” Davis said.
A group of Quincy University students called QU Hawks for Special Olympics will be volunteering on
Saturday as well.
“They support our events, and a lot of our athletes love it,” Davis said. “Our athletes come with so many
challenges, and they play their hearts out, and it reminds us to play our hearts out in everything we do,
too.
“There’s a lot of inspiration that people walk away with.”