When the Junior Jordans and Eagles hit the court this weekend they’ll not only be showing how well they can play the game of basketball, they’ll be raising money for the special recreation programs that have been their lifeline to the community.
The high school-aged Eagles and younger Junior Jordans will split their teams and square off against each other starting at noon Saturday (Jan. 19) at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School.
Both Special Olympic teams have been practicing for the big game for weeks in anticipation of playing in front of a big crowd. And like the Broadway musical Damn Yankees, they’ll be doing it with style and heart.
“Not only are these kids great athletes, they’re great entertainers,” organizer John Zawaski said.
The first Special Olympics Basketball Day was held at St. Linus School and raised $1,000. Since then, the annual big game has raised over $40,000 all of which goes to the Oak Lawn Park District’s special recreation programs, including its Special Olympic teams.
The program draws children and young adults from Oak Lawn, Evergreen Park, Burbank, Chicago Ridge, Worth and Crestwood.
“Every cent goes back to these kids and building new programs to give them a chance to play in different sports, buy uniforms and equipment, and defray fees for parents,” Zawaski said.
For parents like Mikey Curtiss, attending practices with her autistic son, Scott, who plays on the Junior Jordans, gives her a social outlet as well.
“We’re on an extreme routine,” Curtiss told Patch last year. “Mom and dad are not allowed to go out.”
While both teams will be playing in front of an enthusiastic crowd of friends and family, there are plenty of seats in the McAuley gym for local residents to come out and cheer on the atheltes for an experience they'll never forget.
The big show features two basketball games and an exciting half-time performance by the Oak Lawn Pep Squad.
- Fundraiser benefitting Oak Lawn Park Dist.'s special recreation programs.
- The Oak Lawn Park District Special Olympics basketball teams Junior Jordans and Eagles will split their teams and face off against each other in two exciting court battles.
- Half-time show by the Oak Lawn Pep Squad
- Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19
- Mother McAuley High School gym, 3737 W. 99th St., Chicago
- Tickets, $5. All proceeds go to Oak Lawn special rec programs.