Play Ball

Special Olympic supporters will compete side-by-side with nearly 40 Special Olympics athletes and put their skills to the test this Saturday, October 28, at the 8th annual Motionball Marathon of Sport Ottawa. Presented by AIR MILES, the event takes place at Carleton University from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

With 32 teams registered and nearly 400 community members participating, it promises to be a fun filled day of sports, music, food and chances to win prizes. Teams will compete in 10 sports ranging from basketball to soccer to flag football.

According to co-event director Ian Mortimer, the day is all about inclusivity. “The Special Olympic athletes who are participating have been looking forward to motionball all year,” he says. “For many of them, it is rare to feel included and ‘a part of the team’. Motionball is a day where every Special Olympic athlete is picked first for the team; where no one feels left out or ridiculed.”

Though there are around 800,000 Canadians with an intellectual disability, approximately one in every 19 participates in Special Olympics programs. All money raised during this weekend’s motionball Marathon of Sport goes directly towards the Special Olympics, increasing programming and in turn making the events even more accessible. Funds are also allocated to team uniforms, tournament fees, travel and equipment.

The idea for motionball was first conceived back in 2002, with the goal of encouraging all Canadians to join together to raise awareness and funding for a great cause and make sure that the Special Olympics movement spreads across the country. Three brothers wanted to expose other young professionals to the Special Olympics movement, building awareness by targeting the “Next generation”, and decided that the best way to do so was through events combining sport with a social atmosphere. Since then, the Toronto-based not-for-profit has grown into 20 yearly events in 15 cities across the nation and over the years has raised over $8 million to the Special Olympics Canada Foundation, including $1 million just in 2016.

The Marathon of Sport is a pre-registered fundraising event, with free Under Armour hats and shirts provided for volunteers and participants. Spectators are welcome and donations are encouraged.