PHILADELPHIA - More than a dozen members of the University of Pennsylvania football team spent their Saturday at the 2014 Philadelphia Special Olympics Spring Games at William Penn Charter in Philadelphia. The Quakers took part in the opening ceremony, participated in the Unified Basketball game and lent a helping hand throughout the 36th edition of the annual event.
“The Special Olympics has always been a rewarding experience for me," said linebacker Dan Davis, who was elected in April to serve as team captain for the upcoming season. "We’re blessed as college athletes to be able to play the sport we love. Any opportunity we get to help others experience the same joy we get from sports is an opportunity we’re going to take.”
"They were probably the highlight of the games for our athletes," said Michelle Cordell, Sports Director for Special Olympics Pennsylvania-Philadelphia. "They walked in the parade, helped out at several events, were hands-on during the games and did whatever was asked of them. They did a phenomenal job. We are excited to see them again soon."
After Penn players walked with the athletes during the opening ceremonies, more than 250 Special Olympics Pennsylvania athletes competed in basketball, track and field, tennis, and the Unified Basketball Game. The Quakers had the opportunity to participate in the Unified game, where members of the community including local dignitaries and intercollegiate athletes play on the court alongside Special Olympics athletes for some friendly competition.
Most of Penn Football's volunteer efforts went into the basketball and track & field events, but the team also ate lunch and had a chance to spend some free time with the athletes. Photo galleries of each can be found here.
For more information or to volunteer for Special Olympics Pennsylvania's Philadelphia program, click here.
On the field, Penn Football will continue its quest for a league record-tying 17th Ivy title with preseason practice in August and the season opener at Jacksonville on Sept. 20.