The Second Annual Special Olympics basketball game between North Dakota State and University of North Dakota took place Saturday at the Sanford Health Athletic Center.
UND would come out with the win 61-49. This game was bigger than the score.
It all started at the beginning of the game with the reciting of the motto.
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
This is better than what I hear today in most sports. How many people in sports today play for money and not for fun anymore? Even in high school you can see people who just care about winning and get upset when they lose.
It should not be about winning, it should be about having fun and sportsmanship.
Moving on to the aspects of the game.
The players and the helpers showed great sportsmanship to each other and helped players from the other team up. You don’t see that anymore.
When it came to the points, every time a player scored the whole arena would cheer. When a player hit a three, the crowd erupted and everyone would cheer the player as they moved down the court doing a little dance or jump around in their excitement.
One point of the game that was a real special moment was when one of the helpers from UND wound up with the ball behind everyone and went for a breakaway dunk. He was fouled by a helper for NDSU and both helpers laughed and joked about after the play. As he was heading to the free throw line, one of the players came up and said she wanted to shoot them. The helper asked the officials if she could shoot them and they gave the OK. She drained both shots and once again the arena erupted in cheers.
At moments like that show sports are not everything in life, yet it is a big part of many lives.
You can build great relationships through sports and this game showed that. With the high fives, the hugs and arms over the shoulders as they go back and forth on the court shows the amount of respect and friendship the players and helpers have with one another.
People with disabilities are just that, people. They are no different from anybody else.
Even with the difference the players and helpers had from each other, they didn’t let that stop them from being friends and build a relationship together. They saw right through that and looked deeper inside and saw one another as another person and treated each other as such.
As the game was going and coming close to the end, the atmosphere of the game never changed. From everyone cheering and the players giving everything they had and having a positive attitude. That’s what sports and life is all about. It’s about having fun and not worry about what difference someone may have from you.