Special Olympics Illinois has a very dedicated, hard-working staff, volunteers and Board, so when we say it is twice as much work to cancel an event as it is to conduct it, we are not exaggerating.
The hardest thing about cancelling the events is the disappointment both the athletes who have trained so hard and the families who have supported the practices feel when the big day is cancelled.
Here is why, when we cancel events, we generally cannot reschedule them:
Facility & Staff Availability – We do not own our facilities, except our headquarters office in Normal, therefore we cannot guarantee that a facility will be open on another date. Likewise, our staff members are involved with multiple events during the winter and may not be available on another date.
Scope of Program – Our numbers have increased significantly, so being able to reschedule events presents a problem in two ways:
- We have multiple sport qualifiers in the winter and spring, so athletes are often unavailable to compete on another date due to other sports, employment and family obligations
- Key volunteers and officials are not always available on other weekends.
Cost – In some cases, we have already reserved the facility for a fee and paid for equipment and food for athletes and volunteers, so it is not financially possible to pay for those items twice.
Equitable – The fairest way we have to determine advancement is through a random lottery draw since some of our athletes would not be able to rearrange their schedules for a new competition date.
In conducting 19 sports and insuring nearly 300 events, it is inevitable that some events will need to be cancelled. It is extremely disappointing to all, especially the athletes.
“I am very encouraged that nearly every time we do have to cancel an event, our athletes display the leadership and courage that defines them by moving ahead with a tremendous attitude that doesn’t allow disappointment to get in their way,” said Dave Breen, SOILL President & CEO.
Advancement – Advancement to the next level of play will be determined by “the luck of the draw.” All names will be placed in a hat by division. The division “winner” will be drawn from the hat. No awards will be given. The Tournament Director or a Special Olympics Illinois designated staff member will conduct the draw as soon as possible after the cancellation notice. Notification of winners will be by email or telephone as soon as possible upon completion of the draw.