Special Olympics National Games 2018 were held in Antigonish, Nova Scotia from July 31st to August 4th. Athletes from all over Canada represented their provinces in the sports of Athletics (Track), Basketball, Bocci, Golf, Powerlifting, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, and Swimming. Bowling Nationals (5 and 10 Pin) took place in PEI in May due to lack of bowling venues in NS. Stephen Campbell is a member of Manitoba's Softball Team. Stephen lives in Brandon and is the son of Bruce and Laura-Jean Campbell of Sinclair.
There were 12 teams competing in the National Softball tournament. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Quebec, Ontario (3), Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia (2).
The first day of competition was a Divisioning Day for softball. The 12 teams played 3 teams in the 3 pools of 4 teams. This determined which pool they ultimately competed in, A (Red), B (Blue), C (Yellow).
Manitoba came through the divisioning process in 3rd place in the A or Red Division. This was the first time they qualified in the A division at Nationals, they had played in the B division twice before, 4 years ago in Vancouver BC and 8 years ago in London, Ont. They were very excited to be in the A division.
The weather was SO hot, Special Olympics cancelled outdoor events from 1-4 in the afternoon for the athletes safety. Manitoba luckily always played the 8:00 a.m. game (and it was still hot).
The team played well and had good games. The Ontario team that won Gold won all their games handily.
Team Toba played Quebec in the Bronze Game of the A division. They had met Quebec 3 times (once in the divisionals (tie), "A" group play (Toba won by 1 run), and the Bronze game. Team Toba played well, defeating Quebec 15-3, winning Bronze in the A Division.
The athletes stayed at the beautiful St. Francis Xavier University dorms and the sports venues were held all over the city.
Sobeys, one of Special Olympics Sponsors, took bus loads of athletes to a local beach, Crystal Cliffs. They served fresh, cooked local Nova Scotia Mussels to the athletes and the athletes had a chance to wade in the Atlantic Ocean.
At Provincial and National games, Special Olympics hold a Healthy Athlete Station. They check hearing, eyesight, feet and overall health. They also discuss health and exercise.
The University Cafeteria served the athletes great meals, athletes traded pins all week, comradery amongst other provincial athletes on off time and supportive attitudes towards their competitors were just a few of the positive experiences that the athletes enjoyed. Parents also enjoyed comradery with the many athletes and other parents. Competition was very evident but the overall support towards each other was awesome to experience.
Team Toba had 73 athletes representing their sports. Team Toba's Medal count was Gold: 17, Silver: 21, Bronze: 28.
Opening Ceremonies on July 31st needed 2 large venues to hold the athletes and spectators. The athletes were loudly welcomed as they entered the venues. Closing ceremonies were held on August 4th. Both were spectacular events.
Congratulations to all the athletes on a great week of competition. Congratulations to Team Toba Softball for bringing home the Bronze in the A Division.