UManitoba motionball kicks off 2021-22 season

Fundraiser for Special Olympics holding events Nov. 25 and Jan. 16

Photo provided by Marissa Naylor

UManitoba motionball, an initiative to raise money for Special Olympics, is holding its first fundraiser on Nov. 25 in lead-up to the main motionball event on Jan. 16.

Founded in 2002, motionball is a non-profit organization that holds events across Canada to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics. After holding events in major cities across the country, the organization began holding events on university campuses. The U of M joined Motionball in 2018 and raised $15,000 in its second year. In 2020, UManitoba motionball raised over $18,500, holding events virtually throughout the year.

Now that UManitoba motionball is back to holding in-person events, it hopes to improve on last year’s total. Marissa Naylor, co-event director, said everyone is welcome to attend motionball events. Motionball is an inclusive event, making for what Naylor describes as an incredibly fun time.

“We really base our events off of Mini U programs,” said Naylor.

“Not like your typical basketball games and volleyball, but it’s a mix activities for everyone at all age levels, as well as activities for anyone and everyone, doesn’t matter your age, skill, anything.”

“Everyone can compete and it’s really just for fun.”

While the event is being held by U of M students, anyone can attend motionball events if they’d like to show support. Naylor maintains that the event is for everyone, explaining that students, faculty and anyone else hoping to take part in the event may participate.

“We encourage everyone from the University of Manitoba campus to get involved, as well as those outside the U of M,” said Naylor.

“Teams can be built with your fellow students on the U of M or they can be from any other university, we encourage anyone and everyone.”

Prior to the main event on Jan. 16, UManitoba motionball will be holding a couple of fundraising events, including its latest on Nov. 25 at Roxy Lanes. Guests can head to 385 Henderson Highway for bowling and raffles in support of motionball.

Naylor says the money raised will be sent directly to Special Olympics Canada’s home office in Ontario, where it will then be distributed accordingly.

UManitoba motionball has also received support from the Winnipeg Ice and is looking to partner with various student groups at the university.

“We are really just reaching out to encourage all those clubs to support and come join,” Naylor said.

“We have approached the [Commerce Students’ Association] but we would love to connect with science, engineering, education, phys-ed, ET, [faculty of kinesiology and recreation management] […] but we welcome any faculty or any student groups. So, anyone that would love to come out, we would encourage and love to connect recreation with a bunch of other faculties that may not look at recreation that often.”

Naylor just wrapped up her fourth year competing for the Bisons golf team. As a member of the U of M community as an athlete and a student, Naylor sees motionball as not only a great cause, but an opportunity to cultivate community and build new relationships on campus. She said that it is important students come out to show support so an inclusive environment is fostered for all members of the U of M community.

“I think the biggest importance [of motionball] is getting into a new community and really showing awareness for a very big initiative that is, in my opinion, really important,” said Naylor.

“Special Olympics and those with disabilities still don’t have enough attention about how important it is to be inclusive and so that is exactly what motionball is and that’s exactly why people should get involved.”

“Start paying attention and just really include. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from or what your disability is if you have a disability, just come and support because it goes a long way.”

Check out to sign up for fundraisers, register for motionball, donate or for more information.