Jayhawk Student-Athletes Host Special Olympians at Pink Zone Game Sunday

Feb. 24, 2009


More than 60 Special Olympians and 60 Jayhawk student-athletes came together to cheer on the Kansas women’s basketball team during their 58-47 win over No. 21 Iowa State on Sunday.

Special Olympians came to Allen Fieldhouse from the Blue Valley Blue Streaks and the Lawrence Jayhawks. The event is part of an ongoing partnership between the Jayhawk Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Special Olympics Kansas as they continue to strengthen their relationship.

Jayhawk student-athletes and Special Olympians paired up to create personal relationships and cheer on the Jayhawks during the Pink Zone game, which had the highest attendance of the season. While donning their new pink t-shirts, the student-athletes and Special Olympians had the opportunity to interact and build a closer friendship.

Kirby Merrill of the Blue Valley Blue Streaks was more than excited, exclaiming “Oh yeah! KU women’s basketball rocks! I’m glad my Special Olympics team got to go to the game. We won and I got a t-shirt!”

Nan Kanter, the Blue Valley (Kan.) Special Olympics Coordinator spoke highly of the student-athletes, “All of our athletes need good role models. Special Olympics athletes love to be associated with KU and college sports. It makes them feel as though they are an important part of the community. Student athletes as role models can help make our athletes become better citizens and help our kids to be accepted in our community by all.”

The entire women’s golf team was in attendance, and junior Meghan Gockel said, “I think it is important to give back to the community. I love seeing the Special Olympians’ bright smiles and enthusiasm.”

Drew Dudley of the Football team added, “Being able to bond with a Special Olympian one-on-one made me feel like I actually helped brighten his day just by having fun with him.”

The Kansas SAAC will be hosting Special Olympians again to the Women’s Basketball game against Baylor on Wednesday, March 4, at 7 pm.

Special Olympics groups who may be interested in attending should contact Matt Baysinger at (785) 864-7872.