The month of November will be jam-packed with competitions and events throughout the state for Special Olympics Florida. Headlined by the 2016 State Fall Classic, Special Olympics Florida will also host two Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) League Play tournaments and the 2nd Annual Unified Rivalry Game between Florida State University and the University of Florida.
State Fall Classic
Special Olympics Florida State Fall Classic is the culminating celebration and competition for athletes, partners, and coaches participating in cheerleading, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, and Unified flag football. State Fall Classic takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex November 11th-12th. It will host more than 1,200 athletes, partners, and coaches. In addition to the competitions taking place, Healthy Athletes will offer health exams for all participants. Healthy Athletes will be able to conduct exams in all six disciplines due to the generosity of more than 450 health professional volunteering for this event. Exams will be conducted in FUNfitness, Fit Feet, Healthy Hearing, Heath Promotion, Opening Eyes, and Special Smiles. Through Healthy Athletes, Special Olympics Florida is expected to conduct more than 2,500 total exams in the six disciplines.
We are also pleased to announce that we will be hosting a Little ELITES (Elementary Level Introduction To Entry-level Sports) – a new program for children ages 8-11 – and Young Athletes program showcase at the 2016 Fall Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Saturday, November 12th, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Elementary-aged children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and friends will have the opportunity to participate in a number activities ranging from health exams, soccer skills activities, flag football activities, general sports skill related activities, face painting, balloon animals, a photo area, and much more.
As our guests, families will engage in a hand-crafted experience that creates an opportunity to participate in a sharing of gifts and friendship with our traditional athletes and their families, including the opportunity to explore the various venues to see the events Young Athletes will be eligible to participate in once they turn eight. Our Special Olympics Florida Healthy Athletes initiative will offer health exams to all elementary-aged kids. With everything taking place at Fall Classic, Special Olympics Florida will have athletes ranging from 2 years old to 77 years old competing and showcasing the organization’s ability to welcome all those with a desire to participate and compete.
In its third year, the partnership between Special Olympics Florida and the FHSAA, Unified Champion Schools will host two FHSAA Unified Basketball League Play competitions hosted at The Big House in Taveras, Florida. Each competition will field 18 teams throughout the state and will enable each team to play games. The games will count toward teams ultimately having the opportunity to compete in the FHSAA State Finals.
Unified Champion Schools will also host a Unified Sports Rivalry Series game between the University of Florida (UF) and Florida State University (FSU). The game will be hosted by FSU and will take place November 20nd, 2016, at 12:00 p.m. Teams will be comprised of students from the respective universities and local Special Olympics athletes. The Unified Sports Rivalry Series takes the concept of Special Olympics Unified Sports®, where people with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team, breaking down stereotypes, and leading to a quick path of friendship and understanding. The Unified Sports Rivalry Series brings the power of unified sports to the college environment to raise awareness and foster inclusion.