Sports Highlight

2018 SOOH 36th Annual Winter Games took place on February 7-8th at three venues: The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Brandywine Ski Resort, and Kent State University Ice Rink. We had over 200 athletes/partners and coaches brave the elements and take on the powder to go for the Gold. The opening ceremonies and banquet were held at the event hotel ballroom and the dancing went on until DJ Jazzy Jeff had to finally pull the plug.  Leadership representatives from the American Legion and National Park Service were there in force to present awards and our new SOOH CEO, Jessica Stewart, experienced her first SOOH sports event and delivered the welcome address to open the Winter Games. Athlete Leaders Shaye and Sharita Taylor were the Co-Masters of Ceremonies and did and outstanding job!!

Coming Soon

Special Olympics Ohio State Basketball Tournament – March 23-24th, at various gym sites in Tuscarawas County. This is our MARCH MADNESS!!! Basketball represents a long season for Special Olympics, with scrimmages and regional tournaments happening throughout the state. We have over 1400 athletes registered for the tournament! I had the privilege to get out to see several games, including a recent youth division match up with the Paulding Pride against the Toledo Public T-Rockets. Unified teams and Basketball Skills Developmental teams are on the rise! The intensity and passion for the game and the lifelong friendships formed on and off the court, is what this is all about. Good luck to all in the tournament and I look forward to seeing you over in the Tuscarawas Valley!

Co-Coaches of the Month

Sarah Klie and Michele Vandyke, Franklin County-NW Superstars, nominated by Local Coordinator Andrea Fogt: “These two ladies go ABOVE & BEYOND for our athletes and organization. They are truly amazing! They love and care about this program so much. They constantly show up to events to which they don’t coach to cheer on the athletes, attend all fundraisers, and have coached swimming together for many years. Michele has coached track for a number of years, and Sarah has coached and played Unified volleyball for many years as well. Both of these women are always supporting the NW Superstars by posting on social media for events they are attending so their friends/families can attend too and are ALWAYS pushing the athletes to do their very best.”

Congratulations to Coach Sarah and Coach Michele on being our first “Co-Coaches of the Month” for the month of MARCH and representing the true spirit of our organization: Using sport to open hearts and minds towards people with intellectual disabilities and create inclusive communities all over the world!

(Please forward me nominations for Coaches within your local organizations which deserve some special recognition. Simply send me a brief narrative of “why they are the best” and a coaching photo to my email address: and I will take the best of the month and call them out on the monthly newsletter for the difference they are making for our Special Olympics Athletes. I will use these monthly nominations to select a Coach of the Year at our annual awards banquet in October)

Certification Corner

The black Reebok Polo shirts are waiting for your certification sheets to come in! I know that Coach Lindsay Bartsch down in Hamilton County S.O. is intent on being the next Certified Coach but Bobby Reidl is closing fast. Follow this link and chip away at those courses! 

Tennis Clinic

I am planning an in-person Special Olympics coaches training opportunity for starting or developing a Tennis program on Saturday, April 7th from 9:30am to 3:00pm at The Ohio State University Columbus Campus. If you have interest in attending this free coaches clinic, please send me an email at so I can verify the venue and plan for lunches. Instructor: Jim Hamm, SONA, PTR/SO Tennis Clinician. Time is running out…please let me know ASAP if you are interested in attending!!

We are planning Coaches Clinics for Flag Football in late July (28th) and Swimming in early September (1st)!

Conditioning Corner

Coaches, send in your favorite conditioning workouts, featuring your athletes and I will upload to the SOOH Channel!!

Compliance Topic

(Revisited from November’s Newsletter due to Demand) Lindsay’s Law (Ohio Revised Code 3313.5310) – this is a new law in Ohio to increase awareness of SCA – Sudden Cardiac Arrest in athletes age 19 and under and I encourage all coaches to review the handout and YouTube video. Please be sure that every athlete in your program has a current physical and are cleared to participate in Special Olympics. To access the online training material for Lindsay’s Law, please click on this link.

The resources above are provided by the Ohio Department of Health and should be reviewed on an annual basis. There are no completion certificates issued for this training unless you are a licensed educator in the State of Ohio. If that applies to you and you have not already heard of how to complete your training, please contact your school administrator as soon as possible.

Quote to Remember

The glory of sport is born at the moment when the game and the person become one, when all the complexity of one’s life finds a moment to emerge in the game.

– Timothy Shriver

Remember to ALWAYS have your Athlete’s and Partner’s Application for Participation and Release Forms in your possession while training, traveling and/or competing. Should a medical event occur, those forms will be necessary for the athlete to receive treatment!