North Central Joins MLC in Welcoming New Ulm Special Olympics Basketball Team
NEW ULM, Minn. – Prior to the men’s basketball game between Martin Luther College and North Central University on February 8, the two teams were joined on the court by the 33 members of the New Ulm Special Olympics basketball team.
The Special Olympics group was at the game as guests after being invited by the MLC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
"We (SAAC) just wanted to recognize these athletes for what they do," MLC SAAC President Ben Schone said. "We wanted to show to our students another aspect of New Ulm that we never really hear about on campus."
There was initial discussion of an exhibition game at the event, but it was decided to have the Special Olympics group recognized alongside the two teams prior to the men’s game.
One by one, the members of each team were announced along with a member of the 33-member Special Olympics team. The decision for the two teams to join in this together was made late in the week, but was something both sides embraced.
North Central Athletic Director and men’s basketball coach Jon High said his team enjoyed taking part in the event, and also took some very positive things from it.
"It was an excellent reminder to our guys how the sport of basketball can have such a positive impact in the lives of others," High said. "We tend to look at basketball through the eyes of competition, while the Special Olympians demonstrated genuine joy just to have a uniform on and be a part of a team."
MLC Athletic Director and men’s basketball coach Jim Unke also believes the event was positive for all parties involved.
"It was a special evening," Unke said. "We would like to thank the Special Olympians that attended, as they were a very important part of the evening. Also, thanks to North Central for helping us welcome them and introduce them to our campus community."