Athletics event to benefit Nashville Special Olympics
Student athletes will compete off court and away from fields in Battle of the Bruins, the first student-athlete talent show, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the Curb Event Center. All 11 of Belmont’s athletic teams will be represented on stage.
“This is also something fun for the athletes to get us all together because we are traveling a lot so we don’t always get to interact across teams. And it also will allow other students to know who we are when we aren’t playing sports,” said Jennifer Newnan, a senior on the women’s golf team, who will dance during Battle of the Bruins.
The talent show is presented by Belmont’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Among the performances are skits, dance routines and musical acts. Judges are three members from Diamond Rio, Golden Tate of the Seattle Seahawks, alumna Melinda Doolittle, Allison Demarcus and Special Olympic Star Josh Putnam. The athletes are competing for Bruins Supporting Bruins points, an initiative to get athletes to attend each other’s sporting events. At the end of the year, the most supportive team is rewarded with a dinner.
“Belmont is such a unique place with so many people that are musically talented. This talent show will give athletes a chance to show their natural talent, like singing or dancing or playing an instrument, that they usually cannot show off because they are busy with practice and games. Athletes are naturally talented and competitive, so this is a good fit,” said Morgan Gilman, a graduate student studying sport administration, who has been instrumental in the planning of Battle of the Bruins. While a swimmer at the University of Illinois, she and teammates hosted a similar talent show as a philanthropy event. She translated that event into Battle of the Bruins.
Assistant Director of Athletic Operations Michael Graffin said, “I thought this would be a great idea, but after seeing what talent the student athletes have, I know this will be a success. The women’s volleyball team has two incredible singers. Other athletes are doing their own renditions of known dances and making up creative dances. This is an event that I think people will have to look forward to for years to come.”
Tickets for the event are $5 and may be purchased at the Curb Event Center box office or online by clicking here. The talent show will benefit Nashville Special Olympics, which is in need of new equipment, uniforms and travel expenses. Student athletes have already raised $7,000 for Nashville Special Olympics through silent auctions as well as professors’ and parents’ donations. They hope to gather $25,000 in donations.
“We decided on Nashville Special Olympics because we also host the basketball tournament for them each year,” Newnan said. “Helping them is something that is important for us, and that we could see the benefits from.”
Between Belmont athlete performances, young Special Olympics athletes also will display their talents. Among them will be a choir, a rendition of ‘N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye,” a sparkle tap routine by the cheerleading squad and a father-son performance.
Donations for Nashville Special Olympics can be dropped off to Senior Women’s Administrator Betty Wiseman in the Belmont Athletics Department. Students will receive convocation credit in personal growth with their attendance.