Sunday , July 18th.
Today was Opening Ceremonies in Lincoln Nebraska for the 2010 Special Olympics National Games. Prior to the ceremony, all athletes had practice or divisioning rounds. Golfer Tyler Lagasse shot a personal best 35 at Highlands Golf Course. Bill Harris, a tennis player from Duxbury, played an exhibition game against tennis great Andy Roddick. All the athletes returned to the dorm mid day for lunch and to prepare for Opening Ceremonies.
Opening Ceremonies was wonderful! Approximately 3000 athletes paraded in to Bob Devaney Sports Center. Team Massachusets was wearing green tie dyed shirts, which were a crowd favorite! Rachel McClusky got the entertainment started singing “Be a Fan”, a song she composed for the 2010 National Games. A salute to those in the armed services came next, followed by the presentation of the flag and the singing of the National Anthem by Gospel superstar Sandy Patty. There were several inspirational videos, including one starring SOMA soccer player Matt Millett, who recently returned from playing in the Unity Cup during the FIFA World Cup. The athlete, coach, and officials oaths were recited, then the crowd was entertained by the group Jars of Clay. A touching tribute to founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver came next, followed by the raising of the Special Olympics flag and the lighting of the torch, accompanied by Sandi Patty singing another song specifically written for National Games, “Raise The Flag”. Tim Shriver then greeted the crowd, and everyone shouted “Let The Games Begin”!
Team SOMA and the rest of the athletes then returned to their dorms to have dinner and get ready for a full day of competition on Monday!