By Kait Laubscher, '12
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Members of St. Bonaventure University's men's and women's basketball teams gave back on Saturday, April 21, to the communities that cheered them through their 2012 NCAA runs. They joined with SIFE and the SBU School of Education in welcoming 10 New York Special Olympics basketball teams to St. Bonaventure for a day of play and learning.
Following registration and opening remarks, the Special Olympians worked with members of the St. Bonaventure men's and women's basketball teams to sharpen their passing, shooting and dribbling skills. SIFE members volunteered to supervise and help the Special Olympics athletes while their coaches attended their own clinic.
Led by Bonaventure basketball coaches, the coaching clinic discussed strengthening and conditioning techniques basketball players should employ, with a focus on implementing these exercises in a Special Olympics program.
After a lunch break, the Bonaventure and Special Olympics athletes joined together on teams for a Unified Exhibition- two hours of round-robin scrimmages and friendly competition.
Associate physical education professor Dr. Paula Scraba, who coordinated this clinic with the help of regional Special Olympics directors and directors of operations for St. Bonaventure basketball, said Bonaventure and Special Olympics athletes alike thoroughly enjoyed the day. Also joining the group for the day was Neal Johnson, CEO and president of Special Olympics New York, a member a SBU's class of 1973.
The 136 Special Olympians and 35 coaches traveled to St. Bonaventure from across the Western New York and Genesee County regions.