Last weekend Special Olympics New Mexico hosted its Holiday Classic Competition in Las Cruces. We have been going there off and on for years, and have always loved being in the southern part of our state. This year, however, we moved the date of the competition two weeks earlier and made a few additions to the weekend. We added unified bocce to the sports we offered – we added live music to Opening Ceremonies – we added a photo booth to Olympic Village – and because the Games were held on Halloween, we added costumes to the Victory Dance. The result of those additions turned out to make the weekend more fun than any of us ever anticipated.
We had 39 Unified Bocce teams compete on Friday afternoon. Because the Games fell earlier than normal and the University was in session – we were able to recruit the New Mexico State University Baseball team along with members of the Softball team to serve as the bocce officials. These intercollegiate athletes bonded quickly with our Special Olympics athletes, and because of that – everyone seemed to celebrate a little louder.
Friday night’s Opening Ceremonies Banquet was scheduled to include seven musicians from the New Mexico State University Marching Band. I can’t begin to describe the level of surprise and enthusiasm as instead of seven – the entire NMSU Marching Band filled the room – 115 musicians – 20 drummers leading the way. It was a first – it was loud – it was awesome.
The photo booth ended up not really being a booth – but a photo booth camera – a photographer to work the camera – and a backdrop. Make sure you watch the slide show at the end of this. No words necessary.
And to wrap it all up – the Victory Dance. To quote one of our Area Directors, who came as Peter Pan, “This was a Special Olympics Dance on steroids.” Sooooooooo much fun was had by all.
My closing thoughts are this. It’s easy to do the same old – same old in life, and a lot of times, the same old is ok. With the Holidays quickly approaching and a lot of traditions set in stone – might I suggest giving thought to adding on a new twist or two to what you have always done. New additions don’t have to be expensive, and if they involve everyone – everyone has more fun.