Special Olympics makes return to Hub City region
Inaugural Games dedicated to former Hattiesburg student
The Special Olympics Mississippi, Hub City Region will kick off their Inaugural Games Saturday, September 19 at 9 a.m. at the Hattiesburg High School Athletic Complex.
Prompted by input from parents, teachers and community organizers, the Special Olympics games have returned to the Pine Belt after a decade-long hiatus. Special Olympics Mississippi‟s newly re-formed Hub City Region, based in Hattiesburg, is comprised of Forrest, Lamar, Marion, Walthall and Perry Counties.
The community is invited to cheer on the athletes throughout the day, as they participate in football, softball, soccer, bocce ball, horseshoes and cheerleading. The athletes have been practicing with the help of generous volunteers from local schools, colleges, churches and neighborhoods, and they are ready to compete for the medals!
“We are excited to watch these athletes take the field,” Regional Director Katie Weeks said. “They have been practicing hard and are really looking forward to the excitement of the games. We could not have done this without the support of the community.”
Saturday‟s games are dedicated in memory of Hattiesburg student Marley Taylor, who passed away this year. Marley is described as energetic, fun loving and full of life by those who had the privilege of knowing her during her six years with us.
“Although Marley wasn‟t an athlete yet at the games, she is the true definition of the Special Olympics creed: „Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me brave in my attempt‟,” Marley‟s mom, Nichole LeBreton said.
Regional Director Lori Potter said Marley‟s signature accessory was big hair bows, and attendants are encouraged to wear bows Saturday in honor of her.
“Her quality of life is what we want for all of our athletes,” Potter said.
The schedule of games begins with Opening Ceremonies at 9 a.m., followed by bocce ball and horseshoes at 10, soccer and softball skills at 11, lunch at noon, cheerleading at 1, football at 1:30 and closing and awards at 2:30.
This is a free event and open to the public. Visit the Facebook page at “Special Olympics Mississippi, Hub City Region,” and follow the region on Instagram @hubcityspecialolympics .