Special Olympics Nigeria embrace The Ball like no one before them.
Adeola Oladugba, project manager at Special Olympics, tells Andrew that when he initially took The Ball on as a project it was clear to him what The Ball was all about.
“We talk about unity, we talk about fair play, we talk about respect, we talk about inclusion. These are all things that The Ball represents. The slogan that we at Special Olympics Nigeria gave to The Ball: One Ball One World is born out of the fact that this leather, round, item can do so many things in our lives and in the community. The race may differ. The belief may differ. The culture may differ. But with this round leather there is one, there is unity, there is inclusion, there is respect. It has been a wonderful experience for me.”
Unified football involves mixed teams that are made up of equal numbers of Special Olympics athletes (those with an intellectual disability) and non-intellectually challenged athletes playing together.
After the Unified Football matches the Special Olympics Lagos community come together for a photo with The Ball. Appropriately, the banner in the background that welcomes The Ball to Lagos reads One Ball. One World.
The Ball, as ever, takes central stage.
Anyone can play the beautiful game. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, old or young, female or male, and it certainly does not matter whether or not you have an intellectual disability. The Ball is for everyone. One Ball. One World.
Written by Andrew Aris on Wednesday, May 5th, 2010