Jocelyne Yanofsky competes in her sixth motionball event

By Emily Chandler

The Motionballers come together to celebrate their floor hockey win. On September 15, the team played a variety of sports at motionball. From left back row, Serena Bevilacqua, Justin Rabb, Blake Chapman, Weston Liski and Sydney Gustafson. From left front row, Cory Yeroschak, Jocelyne Yanofsky and Jennifer MacPherson. EMILY CHANDLER

The roar of the crowd rose as athletes ran out from the tunnel at Investors Group Field.

Sept. 15, 2019 marked the seventh annual motionball event in Manitoba, where 60 teams participated and raised over $200,000 for the Special Olympics Canada Foundation.

Sydney Gustafson, a former Interior Design student at Red River College, was the leader of her team, the Motionballers. Gustafson’s team raised $3,145, placing fifteenth in fundraising.

The 24-year old has been participating in motionball for five years and said it is one of her favorite charity events in the city.

Gustafson loves the contagious smiles, high-fives and energy the event creates. By the end of the day, she said her face is sore from smiling.

“It’s a day to celebrate the athletes and their abilities,” said Gustafson. “It’s so much fun to relish in those special moments while playing sports with them.”

One of the athletes on Gustafson’s team was Jocelyne Yanofsky, who has been an athlete at motionball since 2014.

Serena Bevilacqua, 23, and Jocelyne Yanofsky, 33, exchange high-fives as they prepared for their next activity during motionball on September 15, 2019. EMILY CHANDLER

“I used to bowl and swim for Team Manitoba before I aged out. But I still continue to do both once a week,” said the 33-year-old, Yanofsky.

Yanofsky has been bowling since she was seven years old. She travelled to Vancouver for the Special Olympics in 2014, where she bowled and swam for team Canada.

She said that she has always enjoyed being a part of a team, regardless of the sport.

Yanofsky said she gets to meet new friends and try new sports at Motionball Winnipeg which makes her day more meaningful.

“Motionball is fun because I get to see some old friends and make some new friends.”

Jocelyne Yanofksy, 33, competes in rock, paper, scissors to determine which team gets the first kick. Soccer is one of the main events held at the University of Manitoba during motionball on September 15, 2019. EMILY CHANDLER

Yanofsky said a typical week for her involves playing sports, volunteering for Seven Oaks General Hospital and working at New Directors as a clerical assistant.

She said she likes to stay busy or else she gets bored. Yanofsky has also volunteered for Canada Summer Games, Manitoba Marathon, SMD Manitoba, Mike Keane Hockey Classic, and most recently, motionball. 

Although she is busy, Yanofsky said she will always make time for motionball.

Gustafson said Yanofsky was such a joy to have on her team and she looks forward to seeing her next year.