Special Olympics Airdrie’s (SOA) second-annual softball tournament was a resounding success, according to organizers.
Dozens of athletes from Special Olympics affiliates in Olds, Camrose and the Foothills came to Fletcher Park June 1 to compete in a co-ed softball tournament, with each team playing in three games. A team from Airdrie Little League also took part.
“Our goal is always just to have fun,” said Dale Foreman, SOA multi-sport coach. “I think we were able to play competitive ball for those who are able to play competitive ball, and had a good, fun game with the others. Everyone got something out of it.”
While the event seemed doubtful less than 24 hours before it was set to start – smoke from northern Alberta wildfires drifting south resulted in an air quality advisory – it turned out to be a hot, sunny day, with temperatures reaching 27 C June 1.
“I was a little worried we weren’t going to play, until I saw it clear up and I was like, ‘We’re on for tomorrow,’” said SOA athlete Evan Clowes, who scored three home runs and caught a couple pop-flies.
According to Foreman, softball is one of SOA’s most popular sports, with roughly 30 athletes competing. He added, it’s one of the organization’s “original” sports, along with swimming and bowling.
The popularity of the softball, Foreman said, is because it lends to a range of abilities and athleticism.
“It’s not necessarily a gruelling sport, but it gives a fair amount of activity for those who are very active,” he said. “But it also attracts those who are not very active, because you can put them in different positions so they don’t have to be as active.”
Considering the bi-annual Special Olympics Alberta Summer Games will not be held this year, Foreman said SOA’s softball players will compete in other tournaments against local affiliates to keep their skills sharp.
He said the association will attend a tournament in Camrose June 15, followed by another in Okotoks the weekend after and a tournament in Olds in early July.
“We’re trying to make good use of the different affiliates and playing with each other,” he said.