Softball in the Dome
Softball in the Dome

Softball teams from Michigan and Wisconsin are ready for three full days of games at the annual “Softball in the Dome” Tournament to benefit Special Olympics.

The tournament kicked off tonight at the Superior Dome with its opening ceremonies, complete with an Olympic torch.  Special Olympic athletes were honored during the ceremonies–and that’s what the tournament is all about.

“It’s all about them, it’s all about them,” “Softball in the Dome” Tournament Director Merrilee Keller said.  “They write thank-you notes and those thank-you notes go to our sponsors and they sign their names.  And they know that this is a benefit for them so it’s a sweet thing.”

“It always brings tears to my eyes, and I’m very happy to be involved with it.”

“It’s an easier tournament to try and get sponsorship for it because it is a good cause,” Team AirPro member Keith White said.  The team is from Rhinelander, Wisconsin have been coming to the tournament for a number of years.

“It’s neat to see how Special Olympics is involved and be able to see some of the people around here and be able to talk to them.  It’s a cool event how they tie it together with Special Olympics.”

Special Olympic athletes participate in a number of sports, from basketball and bowling to skiing and snowboarding.

Funds raised from the three-day tournament help transport athletes to various events.

“Unfortunately Special Olympics in Michigan does not have state and federal funding that supports them so we rely on our communities who are very generous to come out and support adding money so we can get our athletes to wherever they need to go to be able to participate in their sport,” Keller said.

Games started Thursday night, and run all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with the championship game slated for 3 p.m. Sunday.

All games during the tournament are free to attend.