The second Special Games was a success, featuring
good weather and sunny spirits
sun shone on the sec-
ond Special Games for
disabled individuals last
Sunday, helping make the
day bright — literally and figurative-
ly — for the 78 participants, the
workers and the spectators.
The games were again sponsored
by the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall
of Fame and the Jewish Community
Center. They were held at the
Weekend rain almost forced the
event indoors, but when the opening
ceremonies began just after 11 a.m.,
the sun was shining. "This morning
when it was all cloudy and gloomy we
were still debating whether or not we
were going to be inside or out," said
Candy Bousquet, the center's physical
education director, midway through
The decision to go with an out-
door event proved correct, setting the
tone for a day when everything ran
like clockwork. The events ran on
schedule and the participants knew
where they had to be, thanks to a year
of experience by the organizers and
an increase in the number of
"We had an overwhelming tur-
nout of volunteers for the games," said
volunteer coordinator Joyce Wecks-
tein. "The whole games went off so
well because everybody contributed to
it, the Jewish Hall of Fame and the
staff at the JCC."
Bousquet noted "a lot of youth in-
volvement this year, which is different
than last year. A lot of the kids who
participate in our after-school basket-
ball programs have volunteered their
time to come out and help the special
it's a great feeling inside."
The field events followed, in-
cluding the standing broad jump, soft-
ball and tennis ball throws, kickball
kick and basketball shoot.
Sportscaster Eli Zaret of WJBK-
TV and WCSX Radio did play-by-play
for the basketball halftime and the
field events' award ceremony. Zaret,
who was working in New York during
last year's Special Games, has
previously supported Special Olym-
pics. These types of events, he said,
"are important events for the Special
Olympians . . . it's the good feelings
that you get from sports, whether
you're in Special Olympics or not."
Zaret's five-year-old daughter Cortney
helped him to emcee the award
ceremony. Among the presenters was
five-time world racquetball champion
The competition concluded with a
kickball game and the swimming
Martin Steiner, Cynthia Sherman and Debbie Merin run the race together.
events. The closing ceremonies were
The opening ceremonies, held at
Hall of Fame treasurer Jim held at 7:30 p.m., followed by a din-
the Sachse Field, were led by master Grossman said there was a better tur- ner/dance for 265 athletes, workers
of ceremonies Jim Berk, a sport- nout among the athletes' families this and family members.
scaster at WKBD-TV and WWJ year. "By having a second year," he
Leanie Gunsberg, director of the
Radio. They included an athlete's added, "bigger and better than last Center's programs for the
greeting by Robert Werney and Cyn- year, it just makes it more of a perma- developmentally disabled, was pleas-
thia Sherman, who also paid tribute nent activity in the community calen- ed with the day. "It's been flawless,"
to Israel's 40th birthday. The flame dar."
she said. "It's been a real successful
was lit by Ester Nenner, who receiv-
During the lunch break at Camp day due to all of the teamwork. The
ed the torch from fellow participant Ruth II, Detroiter Earl Cureton, a volunteers, the Michigan Jewish
former University of Detroit and Sports Hall of Fame, the staff of the
The competition opened with Detroit Piston basketball player, Jewish Community Center, working
track events, which ranged from a strode onto the basketball court. He together, made another dream come
25-yard walk through a 400-yard happily signed autographs and talk- true!'
relay. The athletes had participation ed with the athletes before joining
Although the games are the Hall
ribbons pinned onto their Special them in a game against Hall of Fame of Fame's key project, executive direc-
Games T-shirts immediately after officials. Cureton and his teammates tor Mark Unger concluded, "I don't
each event, a pattern which continued easily downed the Hall team, 6-2.
think it means as much to the Hall
throughout the day. They also receiv-
Cureton, who will play for the ex- of Fame as it does to the people in it.
ed their track medals after finishing pansion Charlotte Hornets this It's kind of a blessing that the Hall
each event. In keeping with the non- season, said, "I think I had just as of Fame is able to put it on. We feel
competitive spirit of the games, spec- much fun as the athletes did. It was extremely proud and very special to
tators and volunteers cheered the ef- exciting coming out and getting the be able to put something on like this.
forts of every participant, before, dur- chance to make them happy. Any Just to be associated with it is a
ing and after each event.
time you can make somebody happy wonderful feeling!' ❑
Detroiters Haul In Medals
coinAV CCDTCAARCDA 1014Q
ena Bernstein completed an
outstanding swimming per-
formance at the North
American Maccabi Youth Games in
Chicago last week. She added two
gold and two silver medals in the se-
cond half of the games, giving her six
gold and two silvers overall.
Although she won her events with
relative ease, Bernstein says, "I was
surprised that I won that many. I
went in hoping that I'd get at least a
medal!' Bernstein's closest races were
the two in which she placed second,
the 200 individual medley and the 50
freestyle. She won the 100, 200 and
400 freestyle races, the 100 and 200
butterfly plus the 400 individual
"The competition was really hard
but it was a lot of fun," she says.
All six Detroit table tennis
players won at least one medal. They
totalled 13 medals in nine events.
"They performed even better than
I thought they would," says coach