Special Olympics play basketball with Burlington police in annual fundraiser

BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - What began as a scrimmage pick up game has evolved into a crowd gathering event at Burlington High School.

A Magical Afternoon had it's fourth annual fundraiser for Special Olympics Sunday, where the Burlington police department competes against the Special Olympics team, Midwest Magic.

Organizer and Magic head coach Brett Mitchell says this event helps the program raise funds for the year.

But he says, the biggest goal is to see people smile.

"I always say i wish everyone could be as happy as they are {33:01} because it's just always a positive attitude," he explains about his team.

Burlington Chief of Police Doug Beaird also says he enjoys seeing the team's happiness.

"It's outstanding," he remarks. "I mean you're gonna see some of the biggest smiles you've ever seen."

Chief Beaird recognizes he was fortunate enough to play on his high school basketball team, something that wasn't the case for most of the Olympians.

"A lot of these players will tell you they didn't make their high school team," ackowledges Mitchell. "They didn't get the chance to be picked on a team."

Special Olympics Manager Carla Harris says age hasn't stopped these athletes.

"Even though they're older, they still have that same dream," Harris says.

The athletes say they know they are different, but they want people to know they are just like everyone else.

"We're like other people," says Special Olympian Angel Oak. "We're all different in different ways."

Oak and her teammates love the competition.

While both teams get competitive, they know this rivalry is all in good fun.

"It truly is a magical afternoon to see the community come together and support such a magical cause," says Mitchell.