Fraternities welcome Special Olympics teams
Fraternity members lined up along the sides of the gymnasium asthe Special Olympics volunteers and athletes walked throughcheering and representing their team.
SMU’s Interfraternity Council hosted its fourth annualGreater Dallas Special Olympics Volleyball Tournament on Saturdayand welcomed over 27 teams to the Dedman Center.
Opening ceremonies began at 8:30 a.m. with Blake Towsley, IFCpresident, welcoming the volunteers and athletes.
“One of the most exciting parts is the openingceremonies,” said Jim Barber, coordinator of studentactivities and Greek affairs at SMU.
IFC volunteers cheered for all the teams participating, as wellas those officiating the games, keeping score and signing in theteams.
Fraternity members Kellan Hickman, Bill Smith, Chris Naifeh andBrad Raymond started the opening ceremony by singing the NationalAnthem, followed by the Special Olympics pledge.
Michael Annen, a member of the community service organizationStudents Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Citizenship, cameout to show his support for the volleyball tournament as well.
“I love watching SMU student volunteers work with specialathletes,” he said.
He attended the event last year and believes that IFC has awonderful volunteer base.
“It really says a lot about the fraternities thatvolunteer for the program,” he said.
Barber believes that this is something that all the fraternitiescan do to make a difference.
“All different skill levels and age levels participate inthe event and come solely prepared to compete,” Barbersaid.
Towsley also believes this is a great event because itincorporates athletics into the Olympians’ lives.
Each team played a series of short volleyball games before theevent to evaluate their athletic ability. The athletes were thenmatched up with different teams according to their skilllevels.
“My team has won three times,” said Paul Roberts,16, from the Barnum Indians.
He said that he was excited to compete, but his favorite part isthat he gets to get out of school.
This year more teams participated in the event than last year,Barber said.
IFC makes an effort to represent all teams are represented bycheering and making banners for them.
Community Service Chairman Michael Neary believes it isimportant to get all the fraternities together as a community.
It’s a good feeling,” Neary said, “a lot ofwork goes into it, but the event makes it allworthwhile.”