The 2013 Special Olympics Michigan state Summer Games reminded Marcy Ng why she is such a proud mother of her two sons.
The three-day event in Mount Pleasant gave her the opportunity to coach bocce ball with her one son, Addison Ng, 20, and watch her other son, Marshall Ng, 22, compete in the bocce events.
As a single mom, Marcy said it was heartwarming to see the camaraderie between the two brothers, especially because they do not get to see each other often anymore with Addison being a junior at Central Michigan University.
“It means a lot to have both of my boys there,” she said, trying to fight back tears in her eyes. “They love each other. It’s hard for me, because I’m a single mom, and I’ve had to bring both of them up, and they both have turned out pretty darn good.“
In a sense, she is like a mother to the other five athletes on the team, as well. She and Addison chaperoned and coached the team this weekend.
“I feel like I’m their mom,” Marcy said. “They’re all like my kids. They’re all Marshall’s friends, and I’ve known them for so many years. I know all their parents, so I feel comfortable with them, and they feel comfortable with me helping them.”
The athletes had the opportunity to stay in the dorms this weekend, an experience most non-college students never get. Addison said he is happy his brother was able to experience living in the dorms, even if it was just for a weekend.
“This is definitely an experience for him,” Addison said. “I think everyone should have that experience (living in the dorms), even if they don’t go to college.”
Addison began volunteering at the Special Olympics when he was eight, primarily because of his brother, who is cognitively impaired. But, when he was 18, he wanted to become more involved with his brother and his teammates.
“I first started helping out in swimming, and I decided later, why don’t I just start coaching? Right now,” he said. “I’m a bocce ball coach (with his mom), and I’m having a blast with it.”
Addison said his favorite part of volunteering is seeing the interaction among the athletes and how much they enjoy the games.
“The best part of volunteering is just seeing everyone’s faces whenever they get a medal,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s gold, silver or bronze, they are still having the best time of their life. They are basically in the spotlight right now, which a lot of mentally impaired kids don’t really have that opportunity.”
Special Olympics Michigan continues to get thousands of volunteers every year as support for the organization keeps growing.
“You see them come from everywhere,” Marcy said. “A lot of the volunteers are family members and help in the sport their children or their siblings participate in. And there are a lot of CMU or (Michigan State University) students, or people who want to work with people with special needs. And then you have retired people who have just done it for years and years, and it’s just really neat to see all the love they have for these kids.”