For Lily Goodfellow, tackling new risks isn’t about fear and worry. It’s about embracing the unknown and discovering new passions. Lily is a Special Olympics athlete who finds her competitive freedom while running 200- and 400-meter sprints. Aside from competing on the track, her goals and dreams lie on the flip side of sports, in broadcasting. She’s joined her school newspaper to learn the ins and outs of journalism while also spending time working with the Chicago Cubs. Now she’s gearing up for a new adventure and taking the next step in achieving her dream of becoming a broadcaster.
Lily’s vibrant personality has landed her a plane ticket to New York for a two-day training session alongside two other Special Olympics athletes—Cameron Garrett and Billy Seide.
My biggest strength is my personality.
The three athletes have been selected as shoutcasters for this year’s Gaming for Inclusion event in collaboration with Xbox, Special Olympics, and Microsoft. Their job is to commentate on esports and offer an entertaining and inclusive play-by-play analysis of the event.
Cameron Garrett is an outgoing spirit whose goal is to make people smile on a daily basis. After working with Special Olympics for over 20 years, his love for sports, video games, and competing has only grown. He’s never imagined himself training to be a shoutcaster, but now that the opportunity has come knocking on his door, he can’t wait to inject his personality into his casting and inspire gamers around the world.
For Cameron, his strength is in his outgoing spirit. As an avid and lifelong gamer, Cameron is excited to experience the fun from a new perspective, as a caster—and hopefully help others experience the fun as well.
I feel my passion and enthusiasm helps me express myself and explain what’s happening in the game.
Billy Seide is a New York local who works across six councils with Special Olympics. From competing on the field to working behind the scenes, he’s excited to embark on a new adventure and learn what it takes to become a successful shoutcaster.
In Special Olympics, we have a saying: ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’
This exciting opportunity represents a new chapter for these three athletes and Special Olympics. Special Olympics aims to create a world fueled by inclusivity. From the court to the field, the movement has allowed athletes of all skill levels to take on new risks, discover their passions, and gain a sense of self-assurance. All three casters are taking a courageous step and learning to do something they’ve never done before—and in front of a global audience.
Gaming for Inclusion, now in its third year, is a virtual esports tournament connecting people of all abilities and showcasing the power of inclusion through sport. Microsoft is teaming up with Special Olympics to empower and connect gamers from around the globe through the innovative use of technology. This partnership is helping Special Olympics stretch its mission of creating a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.
By adding gaming to Special Olympics, people from different cultures, time zones, and abilities can bond over a shared love of video games. Through Gaming for Inclusion, Special Olympics aims to inspire everyone, regardless of their abilities, to take new risks, discover new passions, and achieve the best versions of themselves possible. Kym Jordan, VP of Global Corporate Engagement, Special Olympics explains, “Esports is quite literally digitizing sports, and technology is serving as the connector. It is that piece that brings us all together. It is that part of our community that allows us to bring the inclusive connectivity of Special Olympics to all parts of the world.”
It is important to believe in myself, that I could do anything and show how it’s done.
Beyond the comfort zone
Before we dive into any new challenge, experience, or adventure, we must embrace the uncertainty of risk. Easier said than done. Before taking that leap of faith, we often let fear take control and begin to think of every obstacle that lies ahead. However, when it comes to shoutcasting, it’s all about expressing our true selves and leaning into the fear of risk with tenacity. These three casters have set out to show the world that confidence and risk-taking symbolize the keys to unlocking new passions and realizing our unique strengths.
“I learned that it’s okay to lose, it’s okay to fail, and it’s just as okay to try again. The more you try, the more likely you are to succeed,” Cameron Garrett explains. This mindset of fearless persistence has helped Billy, Cameron, and Lily step up to the plate and learn what it takes to be the best shoutcasters possible. They have learned to use their personalities in their new roles by embracing what makes them uniquely them.
When asked to describe himself in one word, without missing a beat, Billy said, “Humor.” Although he was nervous about becoming a shoutcaster, he realized that he could blend his passion for video games with his love of comedy to create an inclusive and entertaining atmosphere for everyone at the event.
And for Lily, Special Olympics has helped her develop a strong sense of self-assurance. This opportunity represents the next step toward achieving her goal of becoming a broadcaster. With the world as her audience, she’s excited to let her bright personality shine at this year’s Gaming for Inclusion.
Lending a hand of inclusivity
There are universal skills that transfer from the sports arena to the gaming sphere and beyond. Confidence, communication, collaboration—they all go hand in hand with amplifying the human experience and encourage all of us to take on risks with an optimistic mindset. By tackling new challenges and expressing their confident selves through shoutcasting, Billy, Cameron, and Lily hope to inspire others to do the same. To take risks. To make mistakes. And to have fun in the process.
Microsoft, Xbox, and Special Olympics are excited to come together and help these athletes, leaders, and brave shoutcasters have a platform to share their stories with the world and inspire others in the process. Through the power of technology, Billy, Cameron, and Lily are paving the path and showing what’s possible when we blend risk-taking with unhinged determination, while at the same time connecting a global community and fostering inclusivity.