Patchogue, NY| For the fifth consecutive year, the St. Joseph's College (L.I.) women's lacrosse team operated a unique lacrosse station at the annual Special Olympics event inside the Danzi Center. Using a portable goal and soft sticks and balls, the team taught nearly 100 Special Olympians basic lacrosse skills. Returning and new lacrosse players came together for their first off-field bonding experience, and it united the team in a special way. Following are comments from some of the participating lacrosse players in attendance.
Tricia Barrett (Sr.)
"It was such a great experience to be involved in the Special Olympics at St. Joseph's. It was an awesome feeling to watch the faces of so many people as they throw the ball in the net. The one-on-one interaction with the participants who have special needs gives me a sense of life and purpose. It is amazing that I was able to teach other people how to play a sport that I love and watch them love it as much as I do! Overall, I am grateful to have been a part of the Special Olympics."
Kelly Walsh (Sr.)
"As a student athlete double majoring in special education, volunteering at the Special Olympics is something I look forward to doing every year. The love I have for teaching as well as for the sport put together in one event is always such an amazing time. Seeing each and every athlete's face light up with excitement, eager to hang out with us and play is something that I will remember for a lifetime. Being able to teach an athlete with a special need how to play the sport I love, I can honestly say, is more exciting for me than for them. Watching them pick up a stick, shoot and score and then scream with excitement is more rewarding than any win on the field. It is an experience I hope every athlete will get to experience at least once in their career."
Nicole Stoppelli (So.)
"I liked that I was a part of it now for two years, remembering some of the athletes from last year and seeing the smiles on their faces. I also enjoyed being with the lacrosse team, everyone was working together and helping, it was a good bonding experience for the new players and the old players. Helping the special Olympians learn lacrosse was fun because I got to use my skills from on and off the field to teach these athletes how to shoot the ball and that made them really happy!"
Melanie Cervone (Jr.)
"I always love the Special Olympics because it allows me to share something I love with a really great group of people. It's a really special experience to be able to make someone else smile, and especially our Special Olympic athletes. The joy and happiness these individuals spread is indescribable and we are certainly the ones who are honored to be a part of it."
Diana Johnston (Fr.)
"It was a great feeling helping the Special Athletes learn to shoot and pass and other skills. The event was very eye opening in the fact that not everyone has the ability to play lacrosse. Overall, the event was great."
Brooke Kreuscher (Sr.)
"I work over the summer with children with special needs so it was great to be helping adults with special needs again. It's really rewarding to see the smiles and laughs of all the athletes. I thought the event was awesome; I am lucky and grateful I got to participate as a member of the St. Joseph's women's lacrosse team!"
Ally Johnston (Jr.)
"I just loved making the Special Olympians feel like they can do anything! I enjoyed putting s smile on their faces when they scored! When they would score we would all cheer and it would get them very excited and it was amazing to be a part of something like that."