Volleyball players, coaches and family members may have noticed a new face on the court during Fall Games on Oct. 23, 2016. The fresh face on the scene was Orintho Farris, an official who is also a student at Rockford Auburn High School.
Farris has been enthralled with officiating since he was young. As a young boy watching a game, he questioned who the people in the striped shirts were and what they did in the game. He soon learned they were the rule keepers. Farris, a rule lover himself, was inspired.
Farris now officiates basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball and football. His active involvement with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) lead him to many events. When the opportunity to officiate at Fall Games arose, he was quick to accept.
“I enjoy the competition and sportsmanship I see in the athletes. They play hard, like anyone would,” says Farris.
Farris had experience with Special Olympics Illinois athletes before. The first Special Olympics Illinois event Farris officiated was at the 2016 Area Basketball Tournament.
Working with special needs people is something Farris is personally passionate about. He aspires to go to college to become a special education teacher. He has shadowed special education teachers in his community to understand the occupation in more depth.
His ultimate goal is to show that “there is no difference [between Special Olympic athletes and their counterparts] at all. They are always just two teams competing against each other with a common goal: to play a game they love. Even with their challenges, they can do anything,” says Farris.
Farris wishes to continue officiating for Special Olympics Illinois as long as he can. This fresh face may become a regular at future events.
If you’d like to officiate at Special Olympics Illinois competitions, please contact David Shindley.
By Sydney Velez, Communications Intern