The Special Olympics B.C. Summer Games, held in Langley on Friday and Saturday, were special.
The games attracted 1,100 athletes from all across the province, ranging from teens to senior citizens. They compete in a wide variety of sports, and the one common denominator is that they give it their all, no matter what the sport, their age or any physical challenge.
As has happened so often at large events in Langley, there were a huge number of volunteers to make the event a success — 1,200 of them in all. As a result of their hard work and the great efforts by the organizing committee, things went very smoothly.
One concern was the fact that McLeod Athletic Park, where two of the sports events were held, is less accessible as a result of the ongoing closure of 216 Street. The Township deserves credit for putting up portable signs at the 232 Street exit from Highway 1, directing people bound for the games along the correct detour routes.
Many of the events were held at Langley Events Centre, which again proved it is very capable of hosting large events and lots of people. The Events Centre is a true gem which has already put Langley on the map in ways that could never have happened otherwise, and its worth was again proven this past weekend.
For some reason, Special Olympics causes people to volunteer with even more enthusiasm than they show at other events. It may be that the athletes themselves are so enthusiastic and open-hearted, but whatever the reason, the commitment from volunteers on Friday and Saturday, and for a long time beforehand during the planning process, was outstanding.
Hosting events of this type requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and the volunteers who were involved in organizing it, along with those who were on the ground during the event, deserve our thanks. They have once again helped to give Langley a good name for hosting large events.
The co-operation of various levels of government is also appreciated, and any extra expense that was incurred will be made up by increased economic activity, Langley’s enhanced reputation for staging events and, most of all, by the smiles of the very special athletes who were here in our community over the weekend.