The 2016 motionball Marathon of Sport events in B.C. hit new heights in their support of Special Olympics, as these inclusive and inspiring days of sport and sportsmanship in Vancouver and Kelowna set new fundraising records and the teams of young professionals joined forces with SOBC athletes for a tidal wave of high fives and fun.
This year, the Marathon of Sport Vancouver was held on June 4 at the EA Sports complex in Burnaby, and the Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Interior Savings Credit Union took place on June 11 at their new venue of City Park.
The 10th motionball Marathon of Sport Vancouver saw 21 teams of young professionals come together for another amazing day at EA Sports and raise a record-breaking $82,000 net in support of the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. Participants teamed up with 31 local SOBC athletes and competed in a variety of sports while cheering each other on throughout the day, creating a fun and vibrant atmosphere where the Special Olympics athletes felt included and welcomed by their teammates.
One week later after the successful Vancouver event, the 2016 Marathon of Sport Kelowna presented by Interior Savings brought together 22 teams who likewise welcomed their SOBC athlete teammates with open arms, and raised more than $70,000 net for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation. With approximately 250 participants and 25 Special Olympics athletes in the event’s new location downtown in City Park, Kelowna's latest Marathon of Sport was their best yet.
“We do it for the [SOBC] athletes,” Kelowna Marathon of Sport Co-Director Donnie Ungaro told Castanet.net. “They are very heartfelt, genuine and amazing people. We want to get our generation, the 25 to 45 year olds, out to be Special Olympics coaches, to get involved, to interact with the athletes outside of this day.”
The hallmark of the motionball Marathon of Sport is the remarkable spirit of inclusion and camaraderie shared by the teams of young professionals and Special Olympics athletes who come together for the super-fun day of sport.
SOBC – Kelowna parent Fiona Lindquist wrote to the Lake Country Calendar to comment on the power of that experience for her daughter.
“Our daughter Shannon was in a blue team playing football against a yellow team. With a football in her hands, she began running toward the finish line. Undoubtedly her blue teammates were blocking for her. The yellow team was falling, sliding and tumbling around her while she was being shielded and guarded by her own team. Shannon, with one goal in her mind, ran confidently toward the finished line in the midst of the apparent obstacles and had a triumphant touchdown. Our sunshine’s face was instantly glowing. The cheering and the high-fives afterwards made her feel like a superstar,” Lindquist wrote.
“Beyond the fun and humour, this young soul was amazingly blessed by the experience and all the encouragement and respect that she received throughout the entire day. While being humoured to tears, I was completely overwhelmed by your kindness and team spirit to create such a beautiful day for her and the other athletes.”
Our heartfelt thanks to the volunteer organizers who log countless hours to make these events possible. Michael Blondé of Hootsuite and Mike McClenahan of BBD are the dedicated Co-Directors who run the Marathon of Sport Vancouver, teaming up with Wendell Harlow of EA Outreach and Rosa Mattia of EA Sports to make this amazing experience possible.
In Kelowna, Ungaro and Derek Fuhr do a phenomenal job as Co-Directors dedicated to engaging the young professionals in their community and ensuring a supportive experience for the SOBC athletes.
motionball is a not-for-profit whose mandate is to introduce the next generation of donors, volunteers and sponsors to the Special Olympics movement through integrated social and sporting events. Since inception in 2002, motionball has donated over $6 million to the Special Olympics Canada Foundation.
Alex Pang’s advice for athletes
You may be confused with this tip at first, so let me explain. What I mean by have honour is be proud of who you are. Whether you win or lose, don't be a bad sport. Having good sportsmanship goes a long way. If you are playing a sport you do not like, turn it around and just learn to appreciate the way the game is played. Have fun, because you never know, you might come back to it one day and love it.
I know it’s obvious, but it’s important. Learning the rules of a game is important and staying away from danger is important, too. For example, in baseball, if you are running to home base and you decide to dive-bomb the base, you might injure yourself. As another example, in basketball and soccer, you must be careful not to collide with your teammates or opponents. Be aware of your actions. Of course remember, before any kind of activity, you must warm up.
Know your limits
Don't let others make you do things you are not comfortable with — communication is the number one key. Talk to your teammates about your weaknesses and your strengths in a sport. This way, your teammates will cover for your weaknesses while you cover for theirs. You can also ask your coach what you need to work on, and from there you can build up your skills.
Never give up
There are times when you will face obstacles, such as losing a game, making a mistake, or missing a goal. But the bravest thing to do is to try again! For example, when I was competing in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games in the Republic of Korea, the first part of the competition didn't go so well and I was left in fifth place. When it was time for me to compete in the second part of my program, I got sick. I took a risk and chose to do my best on the rink. I won silver and even got on YouTube.
You are probably thinking this tip is cliché. Well, too bad, I'm saying it anyway. As long as you are having fun, that is all that counts. Have fun, make friends, be motivated, and enjoy the game.