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August 19, 1988 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-08-19

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Special Team

Staff, sponsors, volunteers and
athletes are trying to make the
second Special Games a success



Sports Writer

eam competitions such as
relay races will be a part of
the second Special Games for
developmentally disabled
Jewish athletes on Aug. 28.
But the games' biggest team effort
will not happen that Sunday.
Putting the games together is a
nine-month effort which is led by
Leanie Gunsberg, director and sole
full-time worker for the Special Needs
program at the Maple/Drake Jewish
Community Center, where the games
will take place. But Gunsberg
receives invaluable assistance from
the 10-person staff of the year-round
Special Needs program. "The staff is
very instrumental to making things
happen," with the Special Games,
says Ginsberg. There are also several
key volunteers. The Michigan Jewish
Sports Hall of Fame sponsors the
games, while the Northwest Child
Rescue Women contribute funding for
the Special Needs program.
The games' format is similar to
last year's. It begins at 11 a.m. and
continues through mid-afternoon.
One addition to the agenda is a

halftime event being organized by
sportscaster Eli Zaret. His plans have
not been announced.
Approximately 80 athletes will
While the event includes competi-
tion, the staff makes certain that all
participants enjoy the games. "All ac-
tivities are age-appropriate," says
Gunsberg, adding, "The information
I got from (the participants) last year
is they feel very comfortable par-
ticipating in the games. But sport-
smanship is very important."
Volunteer Larry Stillwater, a Bir-
mingham stockbroker, feels that first-
place finishes are not important. The
importance, he says, is "that they're
able to compete. It has nothing to do
with winning or losing. It's the fact
that they're able to do the event, and
to finish and have people clapping for
them. All they want is to have
achievement. Just being able to throw
a ball — it doesn't matter how far
they're able to throw it — just the fact
they're able to throw it is an ac- Marc Goodman and Robert Werney.
The participants also enjoy the "You win and shake hands. No poor
sportsmanship. Marc Goodman, who sports."
Robert Werney has participated in
won 10 gold medals last year, says,

Kevan Shink, center, and Marc Goodman begin a practice race.


fRIDAY, AUGUST 19, 1988.





Special Olympics since 1985. His
Special Olympics participation
prevented him from competing in the
Special Games last year. He sees lit-
tle difference so far between the two
programs. He is looking forward to
one thing that he has not done for
Special Olympics. "I'm going to be
making the speech in the opening
ceremony on Aug. 28." As far as the
competition, Werney, seated next to
Goodman, says, "I feel that I'm gon-
na be in first place and be ahead of
everybody and try to beat this kid
over here," pointing to Goodman.
Goodman, returning Werney's smile,
responds good-naturedly, "No, I'll
beat him."
Another of last year's big winners,
Andrea Kaplan, is a volunteer this
time. Gunsberg reports that Kaplan
approached her "and she said,
because she won so many medals she
would like to step aside and give
somebody else the opportunity to win
the medals this year."
Another of last year's medal-
winners, Robert Howard, says winn-
ing "made me feel good. All my
friends were happy and proud of me."
Howard, and all the other athletes
who participated in last Sunday's
training session at the Center, ap-

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