Community Comes Together for Fanquest 2017
February 7, 2017
he Robinson community filled the bleachers for Fanquest 2017. The Special Olympic athletes played against Lee High School and Lake Braddock. Robinson students dressed in white to support our athletes. Fanquest is a volunteer-to cheer event that was inspired by Special Olympics Northern Virginia. It is an event for people to watch Special Olympics and unified athletes play in a basketball game. It’s purpose is to promote inclusion and break down social barriers.
Multiple Disabilities Teacher and coach Abby Yatsko says,“It means the world to our players and to me as the coach to see a packed stadium for Special Olympic athletes[;] it’s just life changing in itself to see the excitement on our athletes’ faces.”
Leading up to the event, there was a spirit week as well as special events after school. There was also a pep rally to recognize the athletes and get everyone excited for the game on Saturday. Many clubs, teams, and organizations volunteered or performed at the event.
“It’s really special getting to see everyone come together,” said Coach Yatsko. Sophomore and Special Olympic athlete Ronnie Torres said that what he enjoys most about Fanquest is “people cheering for me and the other teams.” On Saturday, fans filled the gym and cheered loudly. “You could really feel the energy in stands,” said sophomore Julie Nguyen.
This event not only impacted the athletes, but also the people who volunteered and came out to watch the game. Coach Yatsko said, “I think it really opens up everyone’s eyes to possibilities once we get ourselves out of the way, we break down any judgement we might have or perceived notion about working with people that have disabilities. I think anybody who is in the stands as a fan also gets to see that. At the end of the day, it’s not about the score or the disabilities the players have, it’s about the joy, cheering fans, and the community coming together for one common cause.”