An April 24 exhibition basketball match-up featuring the Special Olympics BC Langley Warriors taking on teams made up of R.E. Mountain Secondary students, Langley RCMP members, and Trinity Western University men's and women's varsity players proved to be a lot of fun for all.
But the game itself - played in the Langley Events Centre's triple gymnasium - wasn't the main objective.
It was part of a much larger vision, as described by 2013 SOBC Summer Games Chair Arne Olson.
"The bigger picture is that persons with an intellectual disability, wherever they are, have the right to pursue excellence, just like anybody else. They have the right to dream big, just like anybody else," Olson said. "And they have the right to push past their limits, to compete and excel, to experience the joy of teamwork, the passion of sport, to leave it all on the field, just like anybody else. And that is what this Provincial Games is all about."
From July 11-14, more than 1,100 athletes with intellectual disabilities will converge on Langley from communities all across B.C. and the Yukon to give their best and go for gold in 11 sports.
Supported by 400 coaches as well as their friends and family cheering them on, they will light up Langley on that July weekend.
The launch also saw Olson kick off the Fill the Stands campaign for the Games, encouraging all locals to be a fan and come out to the events to cheer on these athletes and help them on toward their personal best.
"The display of sportsmanship, skill, dedication, and joy won't be found anywhere else," he said.
Approximately 1,000 local volunteers are being sought for the Langley Games.
The media launch also welcomed the first Games sponsors:
. SOBC provincial sponsors: Goldcorp, the Government of B.C., the New Car Dealers Association of B.C., Safeway, and Staples;
. Games Platinum Sponsors: the Township of Langley, the Langley School District #35, and media sponsors the Langley Advance and Langley Times;
. Games Gold sponsors: the Canadian Progress Club and City of Langley;
. Games Silver sponsors: the Christian Life Assembly, Canadian Union of Public Employees, and Northwest Tank Lines Inc.;
. Closing ceremonies and dance sponsor: Ron Lloyd;
. Games Bronze sponsors: Aldergrove Financial Group, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 118, JD Farms, and Eric Woodward;
. Friends of the Games: the Aldergrove Rotary Club, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and the Township of Langley Professional Firefighters Local 4550.
To get involved with the 2013 SOBC Summer Games experience, contact Carol Madill in the SOBC Langley office at 604-533-2233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4: 30 p.m. from Monday to Friday except Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
@ Copyright 2013