The Special Olympics Montana Spring Games 2017 took place this past week on the University of Montana campus, in Missoula, MT. This is the first year I was able to go to the event with my team. Even though I have been coaching track and field for a few years I always had a scheduling conflict. This was also my first year coaching the adults (Purple Hornets) track and field team. We had such a great but exhausting time because we went non-stop for four days. Jordyn accompanied me for this trip too which quadrupled my level of tired. Ha! We took a charter bus to Missoula, MT for the games. It was Jordyn’s first time on a bus trip and she loved it. Between seeing the animals outside and movies playing on the bus, she loved every second.
My athletes competed all three days of the competition. Wednesday my field event throwers did their events. Unfortunately, we all woke up to snow and rain on Wednesday morning, and it continued throughout the day. However, despite the terrible weather, both of my athletes competing that day walked away with gold medals!
Due to the terrible weather, Tuesday evening’s opening ceremony was rescheduled for indoors on Wednesday evening. The opening ceremony was so much fun. My athletes, the other coaches, families, and myself all partied the night away. Jordyn and her partner-in-crime fellow toddler friend, Chilo, kept themselves and everyone else in our section entertained with their cuteness and dance moves.
Thursday, my running long jumper took first place as well. We finished early enough in the day so we were able to go over to bocce and swimming to cheer our other teammates on. Once everyone on the team had completed their events for the day, we spent a few hours in the Olympic village, where athletes could dance, play games, pick out gifts, hit the pinata, etc. It was a beautiful day to explore the University’s campus as well. Jordyn and I went for a walk around the campus and did some exploring of our own.
Thursday evening was the carnival/dance. It was a luau themed dance where they passed out leis, sunglasses, and leis headbands. There was a live band there who played the whole two hours. They were amazing. They were so good, Jordyn and my athletes, had us out there dancing the entire two hours. The saxophone player of the band even came down to play a few notes for Jordyn while she danced. We took a picture with him in his all red suit.
Friday morning was the closing ceremony, directly followed by all track events, before everyone loaded their buses to head home. This was my biggest coaching day of them all, and oh boy did I feel like a rookie. HA! I did not understand how the divisions and events were being organized and missed the entire first event for my entire team. Eek! I felt terrible, but thankfully the venue coordinator and organizer were kind enough to create a division just for my athletes to do their 100 meter walk. We ended the day with a few medical scares from some of our athletes due to the hot temperatures, but thankfully they are all doing much better.
We made it back home a little after 8 p.m. Jordyn and I were both extremely happy to see her Dad. I said my goodbyes to the team and let them know I would see them for basketball season in September. I thoroughly enjoyed my first Special Olympics Montana Spring Games 2017 and look forward to next year’s game which will take place in our town! Until then, enjoy your summer athletes, and more importantly, GO PURPLE HORNETS!