Posted by: sonewjersey | July 12, 2011

An “Official” View of Greece

by Sean Silver

I have been involved with Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) for 27 years – as a Global Messenger,  a softball official, a graduate of Athlete University, a 2009 SONJ Hall of Fame inductee, a member of Athlete Congress for many years (chairperson for four of those years), and an athlete competing in bowling, unified golf, unified softball, track & field, basketball, flag football, and floor hockey!

I’m one of four softball officials from the United States who were selected to officiate at the World Games in Athens, and I’m the only Special Olympics Officials Program for Athletes (SOOPA) American Softball Association (ASA) official in the world!

I have traveled all over the world with Special Olympics – I’ve been to Ireland, Amsterdam, China, Canada, San Francisco and New York. Now I can add Greece to that list!

Like the seven New Jersey athletes competing in Athens, I left for Baltimore in late June where I was very happy to meet up with my four fellow ASA officials from the United States – Paul, Art, Ray & Betsy.  We have all officiated together before, so we’re close friends. It was the fourth time I roomed with my very good friend, Paul Drake, Umpire in Chief from Ohio. Paul is my mentor.

Sean in Isle of Rhodes

After a great send-off in Baltimore, a transatlantic flight on a big…BIG…airplane (which I had a window seat for!) and a layover in Ireland, we finally arrived in our host city in Greece – Isle of Rhodes. The water was beautiful and I loved my hotel. I had a room with a view of the ocean.

We were there for four days and then we left for Athens. I really enjoyed the ferry ride to Athens. Even though it was quite long, I did get to sleep a little in a bunk room onboard.

Finally, after the wonderful Opening Ceremonies, I did what I went to Greece to do – softball! The teams were really good and I enjoyed meeting athletes from all the different countries. The coaches and players were all very friendly. I was really excited when the United States took home the Gold!

Officiating on 2nd Base

I also loved the uniforms Special Olympics gave me. I got to officiate behind the plate three different times, as well as officiate out in the field. I was thrilled that Barbara Wallace, a SONJ Board member and gymnastics judge, came to watch me officiate. Barbara texted photos of me officiating back home to my parents and fiancée, Jennifer.

The people in Greece made me feel very welcome and I loved meeting new people from all over the world! I liked some of the food and I enjoyed trying new dishes. I got to see a lot of different places, and I really liked the three Greek islands I toured.

Sean touring Athens

I really missed my fiancée, Jennifer, but I did talk to and text her a lot – now I have a very big phone bill to pay! Jennifer was waiting at BWI Airport for the USA group to arrive back home, holding a big poster and balloons welcoming me and my friends back home.

Thank you Special Olympics New Jersey for this wonderful opportunity to represent the USA. I had the time of my life!!!



  1. I have known Sean since he was a young boy and I have watched him grow into a wonderful man. I can think of no finer person that I would want representing the U.S.A. than Sean Silver. He makes me so very proud to be his friend. The Special Olympics are fortunate to have someone of his caliber in their ranks.

  2. Oh my gosh Sean!! You are an amazing person. Congratulations!! I was so pleased to hear of your trip and all your accomplishments. It doesn’t surprise me because the skies has always been your limit!! Congratulations on the engagement, too 🙂

  3. Wow Sean…what an adventure! You keep raising the bar for Special Olympic stars and for yourself. Congratulations!

    Marty and Jessica Rudolph

  4. Hey Sean, from NC. My name is Kristine H. and I am an advanced athlete coach in basketball, tennis and soon soccer. I am working on becoming an official in Bocce and Volleyball (SOOPA) for Special Olympics.
    I just want to encourage you to continue doing what you are doing for us athletes. Thank you
    In the past I was an ASA umpire in California even before I joined the SONC and I know it can be tough with coaches, fans, and parents yelling at you. So again great job.

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