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The annual Bocce Ball tournament at The Kinkaid School. (Photo: Dr. Andy Martire)
Italians enjoy their lawn bowling, known as bocce. The Kinkaid community enjoys it as its annual most-loved community service day because it involves Special Olympics. Every fall, tons of Special Olympics athletes converge on Barnhart Stadium, and Segal Field (the football field) is transformed into bocce ball courts where these outstanding athletes compete, interact and have fun with Kinkaid students, staff and volunteers. On Saturday, Sept. 0, Special Olympics athletes were welcomed with a torch and opening ceremony.
Kinkaid's Community Service Council organizes and plans the day and holds a sign up for the Upper School students. The event usually books up very quickly because so many want the chance to be involved with such amazing athletes who always display joy, great competitive spirit and truly awesome sportsmanship. This year was no different, and all at Kinkaid thoroughly enjoyed the tournament. My third consecutive year as an Upper School volunteer was again such a memorable experience.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics is the largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Her mission was to reach out to those special needs athletes to give them an Olympic-type experience that would highlight their courage, competitiveness, and sportsmanship for all within the disabled community and volunteers who work hard to make their lives better through physical fitness and friendship.
To get involved with Special Olympics Texas, go to the website. The site provides all information needed to become a volunteer for Greater Houston, Area 4, including helping with competitions, events, and fundraisers. Registering is easy online and participation involves just showing up on the day of the event with an ID. Greater Houston Special Olympics has over 9,889 athletes who participate, 2nd only in the state to San Antonio with over !0,000 who take part. Competitions to volunteer at include swimming, golf, tennis, and bowling, just to name a few.
I am extremely proud of my school for hosting Kinkaid's Annual Special Olympics Bocce Ball tournament each year for so many years, and hopefully will continue to do in the future.