As Greensboro College heads towards its 175th anniversary in 2013, the college has slowly transitioned to the philosophy of being Uniquely Greensboro. One of the things that make the college an unique environment is the commitment of the students and student-athletes to excel in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. An example of this was in the men's soccer match versus Guilford College on August 31st.
Division III athletics has a strong relationships with Special Olympics nationwide and Greensboro College began to cultivate their relationship with Special Olympics Greensboro last year. Both the men's and women's soccer teams began working with and hosting Special Olympic soccer practices last fall. Members from both teams help Special Olympic staff coaches with soccer exercises and games during these practices.
"I think we started to look forward to the practices more than they did sometimes," said Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) President and junior soccer player Sean Courtney.
What started with a couple soccer practices blossomed into other sports programs at Greensboro College beginning to work with Special Olympics.
"Our men's lacrosse team really started to take the lead working with the bocce and bowling events through Special Olympics," said head men's soccer coach and SAAC faculty advisor John Trice. "The swim teams helped set up swimming practices, and the entire athletic department stepped up to help with their Fall Classic."
The finale last year was the First Annual Special Olympics Unity Cup. The Unity Cup is a specific initiative looking to promote inclusion and competition between Special Olympics athletes and collegiate student-athletes. Greensboro College and Guilford College worked together last spring to put on a variety of skills competitions collimating with the Unity Cup soccer match where members from the men's and women's soccer teams at both Greensboro College and Guilford played alongside Special Olympic soccer players.
In a continuation of the Unity Cup match, members from both teams walked out with the starting line-ups for the opening match for the 2012 season between Greensboro College and Guilford College's men's soccer teams. In addition to having the opportunity to be recognized at the opening introduction, these players had the opportunity to play during the halftime of the match.
"Our program just felt like this was the perfect way for both Special Olympics soccer and our soccer program to start our season," Courtney added. "The biggest thing we get out of these events and practices is remembering what sport and competition is all about in the end; the passion and love for the sport. Sometimes this gets lost and moments like these are what make us stop for a second and appreciate the opportunities our team has to play and compete each week."