WMU News

Volunteers sought for goalball tourney at WMU

Feb. 17, 2005

KALAMAZOO--Area residents can see many of world's top goalball teams in action this month at Western Michigan University and can volunteer to help stage the annual tournament.

As in previous years, the best teams in the United States and Canada will take part in the 22nd Annual United States Association of Blind Athletes Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26-27, in the Student Recreation Center. Teams are expected from Arizona, California, Colorado, Tennessee, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Indiana, as well as several teams from Michigan. Competition runs 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Games on Sunday will be the semi-finals and final rounds and will run 8 a.m. to noon. Admission is free.

Among the competitors will be WMU students and graduates who represented the United States in the 2004 Paralympic Games in September in Athens, Greece. They include Nikki Buck of Paw Paw, Asya Miller of Battle Creek, Tyler Merren of Dorr, and Robin Theryoung of Colorado Springs, Col. The U.S. women won the silver medal, while the U.S. men won the bronze in the highly competitive Paralympics. The WMU teams will be among the favorites at the tournament.

The tournament is one of the largest contests of its kind in the United States. A total of eight women's and 12 men's teams are expected.

Goalball is similar to hockey or soccer, but is played exclusively by visually impaired or blindfolded players. Teams of three athletes on each side of a volleyball-sized court launch a ball at speeds of more than 30 mph at the opposing side's goal. The athletes are blindfolded to put all players on an equal footing, and four bells encased in a basketball-sized ball help the athletes track its location. Blocking the ball involves a full body dive in front of its path.

People are welcome to watch or are invited to volunteer. As many at 50 to 60 volunteers--often WMU students--are needed. Volunteers do not need to know anything about goalball prior to volunteering and may choose from among three sessions: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday or Sunday or 1:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Volunteers may work one, two or all three sessions.

To volunteer or for more information, contact Sherry Gordon at (269) 337-3276 or <sdgordon@voyager.net>, or Dr. Paul Ponchillia, chair of the WMU Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, at (269) 387-3449 or <paul.ponchillia@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
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