It’s Fall Festival weekend at Villanova University, the time of year when our campus is taken over by the Special Olympics.
Held during the first or second weekend in November since 1989, the campus hosts over 1,000 athletes, 400 coaches, 4,000 volunteers, and the many corporate sponsors and media outlets that will provide coverage for the event. A committee of 90 students meets year-round to organize every aspect of the Festival, from staging ceremonies, to managing the budget, to coordinating the thousands of volunteers. The athletes who participate in the Fall Festival will compete in six Olympic-type sports: bocce, long-distance running, power-lifting, roller skating, soccer, and volleyball. All housing and meals for the weekend are provided by Special Olympics Pennsylvania and Villanova University. (Borden’s Blather, 2019)
Last year, unfortunately, there was no Fall Festival because of COVID. I know I missed it, but I cannot imagine how much the athletes must have missed it.
So it was wonderful seeing all of them again this year back on campus, ready to compete and live up to the motto of the Special Olympics:
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
I wish all the athletes the best of luck and offer my gratitude to the Villanova students who support the event as organizers and volunteers. Watching the athletes and students interact is what makes it my favorite weekend of the year…