Team SLC at the 2022 Michigan Special Olympics Summer GamesCoach Rick would like to thank the chaperones who assisted this year because without them the residents of St. Louis Center could not have participated. This year’s chaperones were Tatiana and Andreas Pocsatko (Matthias Pocsatko’s parents), Carlie Hartwick, and the Notre Dame interns Camille Patton and Angela LY.

The Journey Begins

Sixteen residents participated in the Special Olympic Summer Games in Mt Pleasant. It was a three-day event filled with fun, laughter, connecting with old friends and the agony of defeat. Our journey began on June 1st at 1pm. We drove up to Alma, and in an effort to break up the trip we stopped at the movie theater to see Top Gun. Everyone enjoyed seeing Top Gun and Maverick flying at Mach 10 causing an adrenaline rush. We later stopped for dinner at a local restaurant. We checked into our room around 9pm. After a short meeting discussing the next day’s activity schedule we were off to bed.

Let the Games Begin
At the Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Summer Games

Sarah and Kathy dancing the night away.

Excitement comes early at Special Olympics as several residents were up by 5:30am to get started bowling. We were actually not scheduled to start bowing until two in the afternoon. So we went to the Special Olympic health center where free eye exams as well as prescription glasses and sunglasses were being offered. Once everyone completed their screening we were off to participate in doubles bowling. Two person teams were decided back in March from their Saturday Morning Challengers Bowling League. Five of our eight teams won medals. Not a bad start to the Summer Games.

We had to hurry back to the dorm for dinner then off to the football filed for the Opening Ceremony. Upon arrival who do we see but Joe Yekulis with the 4th Degree Knight up on the stage as one of the presenters. We were all so excited to see Joe. After the lighting of the Olympic Torch, we participated in a dance well into the night on the football field. We all returned home tired but committed to bringing home more medals in the next day’s competitions. So off to bed because bowling started at 8am.

A Final Day of Glory
Special Olympics medal winners

Lee and Stanley were happy to receive their medals.

Up again early on Friday morning we had to clean our rooms, place all of our linens and towels in a pile at the end of the hallway, load the vans with our equipment, get breakfast and be ready to bowl at our schedule time. This time there were no teams each athlete was competing alone. Their skill only would be the deciding factor on winning a medal or going home with a ribbon. By two in the afternoon 13 of our 16 athletes had won medals.

The other teams at the Olympics sure knew who St. Louis Center athletes were. The competition was strong and two athletes from Area 20 (which we represent) will be going to the National Finals this weekend. We wish them the best of luck and can’t wait to hear how well they did. In fact, they both have bowled more than one perfect game in their lifetime.

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of St. Louis Spirit newsletter.

You can read it online or download the issue in its entirety here.

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