– Tori Johnston (Toledo, OH)
Defiance College Softball (DCSB) traveled to the heart of Northwest Ohio the weekend of September 12th for the State Special Olympics. The DC squad volunteered their day towards helping some of what DCSB considers some of the most incredible individuals in the state of Ohio. The age groups for the State-Level event varied from young children to experienced adults.
To begin, The Defiance College Softball team helped run the skills portion of the competition. This included: fungo (a challenge consisting of receiving grounders), hitting, throwing, and running bases. Other softball players who did not run specific events had the rewarding opportunity of leading and collaborating with groups of athletes as they moved from each event. Both volunteer experiences were highly interactive and allowed the DCSB players to get to know athletes on a personal level.
Sarah Kaya, a sophomore, elaborated on her feelings towards the event,
To me, Special Olympics meant the opportunity to work with an awesome group of people for a great event. Helping the athletes compete was a fun and rewarding experience for our team.”
The September 12th event was the first chance for the many young players on the team to collectively partake in a service leadership activity. Being a small college, sometimes DC students do not always get to step out of the “Defiance College Box”, but a common census among the Yellow Jacket squad is that players handled it with admiration, understanding, and respect while representing Defiance College with honor.
Looking ahead, upperclassman were asked what they most looked forward to in regards to next year’s Special Olympics competition, and a common theme among the team was “seeing how the athletes improve and accomplish their goals no matter the obstacle.”
After the event, Head Coach Jodie Holava and Assistant Coach Kaycee Butt both explained their feelings towards “Team 35” (the 35th team in Defiance College Softball history) and the chemistry that the girls have.
“It seems that they do not just enjoy being together but they enjoy helping others and showing people that they are more than just a softball team.”
To conclude, “Team 35’s” experience of volunteering for The Special Olympics not only made an impact in the Northwest Ohio area, but also developed the Defiance College Softball rapport with one another.
DC Softball continually capitalizes opportunities to get involved and looks forward to further team-sanctioned community impact days.