Registration for the 40th Alabama State Games is now open on www.alagames.com featuring competitions in 26 sporting events in venues within the city of Birmingham and the greater Jefferson County area.
The 40th Alabama State Games occur June 9 through 11, and event organizers are expecting 6,000 or more participating athletes.
“Thousands of young people have not had the opportunity to experience the excitement, the challenges — to learn the values that competitive sports can instill in a person,” said Ron Creel, founder of the ASF Foundation/Alabama State Games. “Our potential — like the athletes that compete — is limited only by our imagination,”
Imagination is what led to the roster of games for 2023 featuring a mixture of long-established games and new events. Equestrian and Esports, for instance, are brand new this year, while chess, racquetball and Table Tennis make their return. Archery, baseball, bowling, swimming & diving, ninja challenge, Miracle League, track and wrestling are also regularly scheduled events with the potential to grow exponentially since the Alabama State Games are back in the Birmingham/Jefferson County area.
A complete list of the games can be found at www.alagames.com. An important item to note about the Alabama State Games: They are open to all ages, backgrounds and abilities.
Everything begins June 9 with the Athlete Leadership Summit and the Opening Ceremony, both held inside Bartow Arena (UAB Campus).
The Athlete Leadership Summit was started as a way of instilling the importance of academic excellence, good citizenship and taking the skills learned through athletics and developing them into leadership abilities that will be useful later in life.
The Opening Ceremony, which follows at 7 p.m., is free to the general public and, because they registered to participate and chose to attend, a number of athletes will have the opportunity to be awarded one of the 17 scholarships ranging from $4,000 (two) to $500 (10) and totaling $20,000. To date, Alabama State Games Scholarship Initiative has awarded $335,610 in academic scholarships.
“Athletics teaches a tremendous amount of life lessons, but only a handful gets to experience life as a professional athlete,” Creel said. “We’ve chosen to invest in the futures of those athletes who love the game, the camaraderie. Everyone’s living different lives right now, and by us offering these scholarships — it’s a tremendous chance to alter the course of someone’s future.”
These academic scholarships can be applied to any two- or four-year college, university or trade school of the students’ choosing. To be eligible for one of the 17 scholarships, participants must be registered to compete in the 40th Alabama Games and then attend the Opening Ceremony June 9. All registered athletes who participate in the opening ceremony will be given a commemorative T-shirt celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Alabama State Games.
The opening ceremony — televised statewide on the Alabama State Games Sports Network — is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. inside Bartow Arena and is free to the public. In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Alabama State Games, a special program is being created by the students and staff at Troy University’s John M. Long School of Music.
The opening ceremony will feature the Parade of Athletes, the Lighting of the Olympic Flame, the Athletes’ Oath and a few surprises themed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Alabama State Games.
“We’ve got and have grown a tremendous product here in the opportunities that have been created for these athletes,” Creel said. “Our events are built from the grassroots and have developed a following that crosses all social, economic and cultural boundaries forming and fostering a totally inclusive and supportive community where success — in whatever form that takes — is encouraged. It’s a tremendous experience to see the faces and the smiles grow brighter and wider each year.
“The ASF Foundation: Home of the Alabama State Games since 1982, was established at the request of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and is the largest annual multi-sport competition in Alabama. But the focus is on more than just athletics. We constantly strive to instill in all of our participants and volunteers the importance of leadership and academic excellence.”