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Iowa Games director preaches sportsmanship, having fun

Iowa Games director preaches sportsmanship, having fun

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Jim Hallihan is as old school as they get.

The executive director of the Iowa Sports Foundation still relies on the now-ancient method of handwritten notes to thank volunteers or sponsors.

Even though his organization is using multimedia to promote the upcoming Iowa Summer Games, he doesn't know how to use Facebook or Twitter; says Hallihan, "and frankly, I don't want to know."

And most importantly, he remembers the days when athletes never talked back to officials or coaches, and acted "like gentlemen."

For the man who will oversee the Summer Games for the 15th year this July in Ames, watching an expected 17,000 athletes participate competitively while keeping sportsmanship a high priority is the most important thing.

It also helps that the Games are held at Iowa State's facilities, where Hallihan was a men's basketball assistant coach from 1982 to 1994.

"When you drive through Ames and see ultimate (Frisbee) going on over here, soccer over there, baseball and softball there, all this stuff happening at one time - it's an exciting atmosphere," Hallihan said. "I think people enjoy that, they come to have fun."

This year's Summer Games feature 57 sports - with archery and kickball serving as brand-new events - and will be held over the course of three weekends: July 10-12, July 16-19 and July 24-26.

The Opening Ceremony, modeled after the real Olympic Games march and notoriously a highlight of the Iowa games, will take place at Jack Trice Stadium on July 17.

"Some people enjoy going to a big event where there's lots of stuff going on," Hallihan said. "You just escape into believing, I'm an Olympian, I'm in the Parade of Athletes."

During his 15 years, Hallihan has learned to put the competitive side on the backburner and watch people of all backgrounds enjoy being active in both team and individual sports.

"It's a neat concept because it's for everybody," Hallihan said. "You don't have to be gifted. You don't have to be young. You just have to want to participate. You can find something. There's something for everybody."

Most entry deadlines are during the third and fourth weeks of June. Participants can register and find more information at Casey's General Stores, Hy-Vee, local YMCAs, Subway, U.S. Bank and U.S. Cellular locations, or online at


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