An amazing day for Special OlympicsIt’s not every day that you put on a pair of swimming flippers and try to flip a tortilla onto someone else’s head.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
It’s not every day that you put on a pair of swimming flippers and try to flip a tortilla onto someone else’s head.
Or spin around in a circle 10 times and then try to sink a freethrow.
Or put a dab of Vaseline on your nose to help transfer cottonballs from one container to another.
Or slide across a gym floor on your belly while blowing a toy car toward a finish line.
But this was no ordinary day. This was the Alexandria Amazing Race.
The blustery cold conditions on Saturday may have cut into the attendance but not the spirit of the first-time event, which raised about $1,800 for local Special Olympics programs.
Seven members of Kelly Hilbrands’ Social Studies II class at Jefferson High School organized the service-learning project. They invited businesses, students and organizations to put together four-person teams to compete in the race.
Eight teams participated in a variety of stunts and challenges that tested their dexterity, stamina, smarts – and sense of humor.
The first leg of the race was for the teams to stack eight steel nuts on top of each other, using only one chopstick.
After that, teams boarded a Rainbow Rider bus – donated especially for the event – and rode to the Alexandria Technical and Community College Law Enforcement Center where they completed an obstacle course.
Another bus ride took the competitors to Garden Center Lanes. Teams had to bowl a combined score of 400 as quickly as they could and then it was off to Jefferson High School where they had to complete soccer maneuvers around some cones.
The next stop was the Runestone Museum. Teams raced to finish a scavenger hunt, which included spelling out their names in another language. “That was a stickler for many of them,” Hilbrands said.
Once that task was finished, the Amazing Race moved on to its final pit stop – completing the four mini-challenges listed at the beginning of this story.
A small crowd gathered at the JHS gym to cheer the teams on as they raced to the finish.
Finally, after three hours, several challenges and lots of laughter, a winner was determined – a team of Jefferson High School students that included Kinsey and Jordyn Gruber and Lisa and Adam Klinkner. The top three teams received prizes donated by local businesses.
But, as pointed out by Special Olympics Coach Karyn Sportel, everyone who participated, contributed or helped with the Amazing Race was a winner. They helped five Special Olympics community-based programs – bowling, aquatics, gymnastics, golf and bocce ball.
Will there be an Amazing Race 2 ?
Judging by the fun everyone had, it’s a definite possibility, Hilbrands said.
“The participants are all for it!” she said. “The kids should be very proud…and we want to thank all the businesses and community members that supported this event.”