Matt Ruxton, VP of Sports at Special Olympics Massachusetts, gives the rundown on activities during the weekend of training camp for the 2014 USA Games, this June 14-21 in New Jersey.
By Matt Ruxton
This past weekend the 2014 Special Olympics Massachusetts USA Games Delegation got together to participate in a training camp to get everyone ready for the upcoming games this June in Princeton, NJ. The weekend served as a dry run for the delegation, so they could get a feel for the week-long games, but also was a time in which all 94 athletes, coaches, Unified partners and staff could mingle, interact and get to know one another.
The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with an overview of the games, ice breakers and team building activities. Saturday morning started off bright and early with a team breakfast and then everyone was off to their training sites to practice. Athletes got to work with professional clinicians such as PGA Pro Bob Beach, Massachusetts Youth Soccer Technical Director Ian Mulliner, New England Patriot Alum and former running back Jon Williams, and United States Bowling Congress Coach Al Rolon.
A majority of the athletes, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Cycling, Gymnastics, Power Lifting and Track teams, started their day at The Yawkey Sport Training Center, where gymnastics coach Rory Riley lead them in a yoga session. At lunch, Jon Williams addressed the entire delegation on what it meant to be a team and be a team player, as well making sure everyone gives it their all for the team and teammates. He then met with each athlete individually and took pictures with everyone. After lunch we were joined by our friends at Comcast and each team competed against Comcast employees in either game situations or in skills and drills activities. The day ended with the delegation watching the Bruins advancing on to the 2nd Round of the playoffs and in impromptu dance.
On Sunday morning the entire team was worn out from a hard day of practice, but everyone still got up nice and early for a team breakfast and then made their way back over to The Yawkey Sports Training Center for a team photo and the team handshake competition which was won by the flag football team in a unanimous vote. Before everyone left, each team was talked to about the importance of sportsmanship at the games, hygiene and nutrition, and how to pack appropriately for the trip.