MT. PLEASANT — Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and House Speaker Kevin Cotter traded their suits for basketball jerseys.
They were invited to play a Unified basketball game with Special Olympics athletes at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant. Lieutenant Governor Calley and House Speaker Kevin Cotter are longtime Special Olympics Michigan supporters, having taken part in the annual Legislative Polar Plunge in front of the Capitols steps in Lansing each winter, but this was their first Unified sports experience that proved to be some serious competition.
Lieutenant Governor Calley says, “It’s kind of busting the old stereotype about how, ‘eh you got to take it easy,’ or something like that, it’s not like that at all. That we’re playing basketball, real basketball, but at the end of the day the sportsmanship is outstanding, and so you see that there’s, well there is intense competition, that you see a great camaraderie that exists during the game and after.”
In Special Olympics Unified sports, people with and without intellectual disabilities play on the same team, which helps to create social inclusion and friendship through sports.
“We’re trying to show, or be a good example, about how anybody can come together. People of all different sorts, come together and be inclusive,” Lieutenant Governor Calley added, “and the organization behind all this, Special Olympics, does remarkable work in bringing people together.”
It was a battle of CMU and Michigan State as Lieutenant Governor Calley, who graduated from MSU, teamed up with Special Olympics athletes from the Lansing area and Michigan State college students.
The Unified Spartans team took on CMU graduate, House Speaker Cotter, and his team of Mt. Pleasant area Special Olympics athletes and CMU students.
And in the end, it was the Chippewas coming away with the 28–21 win.