Good Stuff from the Sidelines

So, the weather couldn’t have been nicer on Saturday for the Special Olympics Southern Area Games in Warwick. I only caught the track events, but here are some highlights:

1) In the 100-meter dash, a kid about seven or eight years old, with Buddy Holly glasses and colt legs, stepped up to the start line and crouched low. You could tell he had it in the bag. But when the whistle blew, he took off so fast that he tripped over his feet and fell flat in the dirt. While the other athletes raced past and my heart sank for him, he fixed his glasses, scrambled to his feet and shot down the track like a rocket to win the gold medal. Nobody  else looked surprised.

2) In the teenage relay, a girl in the lead handed off her baton to her teammate, who accepted it carefully and then stared at his sneakers. He stood his ground while the other team finished the race. Suffice it to say, none of the parents turned to his and hollered, "Your kid just ruined it for our whole team!!!" Several jogged alongside the track, urging him to follow. The rest kept cheering until he finally sprinted to the finish line, baton held high.

And 3) I was heading back to my car when I saw one of the older athletes flag down another to show off his gold medal. After they parted ways, I heard him yelling, "Hey! Hey! Do you remember my name?" The other called it back to him, and the first man pumped his fist: "All right!" I totally agreeif there’s one thing to make you feel like gold, it’s someone remembering your name.

The Northern Area Games are May 3 at Bryant University; State Summer Games are May 29-31 at URI. (www.specialolympicsri.org)

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