Patchogue, N.Y. - For the third consecutive year of the team's existence, the St. Joseph's College women's lacrosse team actively participated in the Special Olympics Festival held on campus in the Danzi Center on October 27. The games held annually at St. Joseph's, marked the first time that lacrosse has been featured in the Special Olympics in Suffolk County. The Golden Eagles set up and manned a "lacrosse station" at this years's event.
In addition to the hands on athletic activities, the lacrosse team also hit the dance floor and helped out both the Special Olympics staff and SJC's own Campus Ministry staff with whatever tasks they need done.
Over twenty team members spent time assisting the Olympians as they learned how to hold a stick and then shoot on a real goal using special lacrosse "fiddlestix."
Pat Tracy, St. Joseph's head of the Campus Ministry commented, "The women's lacrosse team is a fixture at the event every year. They always do a wonderful job, not only with lacrosse but also on the dance floor."
Head lacrosse coach Bob Vlahakis said, "I leave it up to the team each year to set up the day on their own. They bring the equipment and set up the station each year. Each year's team has a unique experience as they build on the previous years' experience. It is very moving watching from afar as the players interact with the Special Olympians, introducing a whole new sport to them. Because we do it every year, some of our older players have now bonded with the same Olympians year after year."
Sophomore Nicole Danisi summed it up best, "Special Olympics is one of the most rewarding volunteer work experiences I have ever done. When Barbara (one of the Special Olympians) scored a goal, she celebrated so loud it was like she won the Super Bowl! Being able to physically help these Olympians, cheer them on as they score a goal, and watch their reactions when they realize what they have accomplished - it makes my heart melt!"