By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Under the glow of black lights and with the cheers of friends and family in the air, teams took to the court for the first ever Glow Dodgeball Tournament.
Ten teams competed in the event, organized by NAPD Officer Kristine Crosman, which was held at the high school on Saturday, March 12. Each team did its own fundraising, bringing in more than $5,000, evenly divided to support the North Attleborough High School Unified Sports program and Massachusetts Special Olympics.
“Spread the message, play unified sports,” said Crosman after the tournament was over. “Everyone gets a chance in the sun.”
Crosman recently became a spring track coach for the Unified Sports program, and when new uniforms and equipment were needed, she considered fundraising options. Crosman had for years organized an annual Glow Run, but when COVID made such events impossible, she decided to take a different route.
“So I thought about all the different ideas we can use glow in and I came across the idea of glow dodgeball,” said Crosman.
There was an air of excitement throughout the event as the different teams faced off in the tournament. Each game was two minutes, and players ran around the court, looking for the perfect opportunity to best their competitors. The feeling was one of camaraderie and fun. Mansfield Police Officer Tony Lattanzio—who was part of the ThrowBo Cops—said he knew Crosman from past events and wanted to be part of this one.
“It seemed like a great time to raise some money for the Special Olympics,” said Lattanzio, who has also done the Polar Plunge and a Fire Truck Pull at the Xfinity Center to help different causes.
It was the ThrowBo Cops who would go on to win first place in the tournament, while other teams, such as the Bay State Ball Busters, would earn a trophy for raising the most money. Crosman said members of the North Attleborough, Attleboro, and Mansfield Police, along with the Milford Special Olympics and different businesses, were among the teams.
“The response has been great, especially amongst the police community,”she said.
Unified Sports is integral part of Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools, which was founded in 2008 and funded through the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education to use Special Olympics as a way to build inclusion and tolerance in schools.
The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families and other Special Olympics athletes.