Spencer SPARKS game an annual Special Olympics tradition
The Spencer Fire Department, Police and EMTs joined forces on March 8 at the Spencer High School to raise funds and show their support for the Spencer Special Olympics, participating in their annual basketball matchup against the Spencer SPARKS Special Olympics team.
A 12-year tradition held in Spencer, this year’s basketball game was one filled with laughs, sportsmanship and fun. The competitive game was played in four, sixminute quarters and featured some of the strangest penalties that were handed out by game referees Kevin Offer and Shaun Johnson. On the list of penalties incurred by the Spencer firemen, police and EMTs were calls of skirt wearing, running too fast for conditions, illegal stealing, too many players on the court, paying off the referees and too many balls on the court.
The game itself went into overtime with the score at 23 for both teams. At the end of the three-minute overtime session held to decide the winner, the SPARKS came out on top with a score of 27-25.
Representing the SPARKS on the court were Josh Kolar, Andrew Vogel, Adam Larson, Amy Larson, Nathan Derks, Wes Johnson and Ken Williams. The team made up of members from the Fire, Police and EMS departments included officers Erik Carlson, Mindy Stellmach and Brad Bauer; firemen Dan Wall, Jason Foth, Nathan Saeger, Andrew Mueller, Cameron Schuh, Patrick Mater and Andy Anderson; and EMS member Alexis Strawghan.
At halftime, the Spencer Fire Department gave a donation of $500 to SPARKS head coach Mark Larson that will go towards the Spencer Special Olympics along with all the other funds raised by the event. Before the game, Larson spoke to the spectators in attendance, thanking them for their support and telling them about this year’s SPARKS team, who he said are “exceptional players.” “All the proceeds go here with the Spencer Special Olympics, it’s local,” he said. “I want to remember our exceptional ladies running the concession stands, they are the heart and soul of this agency … This is my eighth year with the Spencer SPARKS and these are exceptional players. I have been coaching for 14 years and this really is an exceptional group. They followed everything I asked them.”
CHEYENNE THOMAS/STAFF PHOTOS