Motionball Con U raises funds for Special Olympics

Marathon of Sport brings Special Olympics athletes together with community

Left to right: Anthony Colonna, Michael Kuczynski and Robert Lemieux pose for the picture. Photo Alice Martin

Special Olympics athletes and participants of Motionball Concordia’s Marathon of Sport took the field at the Stingers Dome on March 30 to raise funds for Special Olympics Quebec and Special Olympics Canada.

During this year’s iteration of the Marathon of Sport, Motionball Concordia raised $4,500, despite their goal of $10,000.

Shelley Craig, the mother of Leo Soudin, explained how important the funds were to athletes like her son. Soudin, who was present at the event, has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years and started out doing downhill ski racing.

“[Special Olympics Quebec] decided for downhill ski racing, that it was important that they had the proper [helmet] because there's a certain specific helmet for racing,” said Craig. “And they decided that it was important to protect the athletes, so they would have these helmets, but they're very expensive. So they gave money towards it to purchase it.”

The evening of activities included bowling, spikeball, Q-tip hockey and soccer. Around a dozen Special Olympics athletes attended the event alongside participants and organizers.

Robert Lemieux and Michael Kuczynski are both Special Olympics athletes who are well accustomed to Motionball and have been attending the organization’s events around Montreal for a long time.

Lemieux, who plays mostly bowling and soccer, explained his favourite part of Motionball was the people. “The friendships, meeting new friends, meeting old friends. Motionball’s like a family to me,” he said.

Kuczynski, who plays floor hockey, softball and golf, has been going to Motionball events since 2018 and has been involved with the Special Olympics since 2003. He echoed Lemieux’s sentiment, saying he loved “meeting new people, the activities, the whole nine yards.”

Anthony Colonna, who is the event director for Motionball Montreal and has become a good friend of Kuczynski through Motionball, admired Kuczynski’s love for the organization.

“Every year since I've been running [Motionball Montreal’s] Marathon of Sport, [Mike] knows our events are done in the morning. Our events usually start at 8:30 a.m. [and] Mike is there before I'm there—at 6 a.m.—to set up,” Colonna said.

Although many old faces were present, the Marathon of Sport still suffered an underwhelming turnout, according to event director Chelsea Morgan. She explained that the event taking place on Easter weekend was the main cause.

“It was just a little disappointing to not have the numbers that we typically do,” she said. “But overall, we still have a good base of people that are very invested in what Motionball is, and keep up the key parts of it, which is integration, celebration and inclusion.”

Morgan, an athletic therapy student, still felt happy with the event, especially considering other athletic therapy students had joined to help out in the Marathon of Sport.

“We know the importance of being active and the joys that playing in sports bring,” said Morgan, when asked about the large proportion of athletic therapy students. “We understand how sports brings people together.”

Motionball events happen all over the province during the year. Motionball McGill is set to hold their own version of the Marathon of Sport on April 7 and the larger Motionball Montreal event is held annually in September.

This article originally appeared in Volume 44, Issue 13, published April 2, 2024.