It's that time of the year again when the tracks heat up in competitions for gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Mr. Kevin participated in the 8-11 year old division for the softball throw, standing long jump, 25 meter walk, and 25 meter run. This was his first track and field event with the Special Olympics, and he was uber excited. He did do bowling in the fall of 2011 (and medaled in gold), but this was a much bigger event as far as he was concerned. THIS is what he has seen on tv commercials. :)
Mr. Kevin added 4 medals to the gold one he picked up in bowling. He medaled gold in the standing long jump and the 25 meter run, bronze in the soft ball throw and the 25 meter walk. Needless to say I was one proud Mama! Kevin was having a blast, as his biological dad and stepmom drove 3 hours one way to see his big day. They video taped his events and I took
This was the first time we'd been to the Carnie Smith Football Stadium at Pittsburg State University, here in Pittsburg, KS. Kevin's para, Mr. Matt, had been a volunteer at the Special Olympics a year before, so he made sure Kevin and his Special Ed teacher, Mrs. Slack, were there for the opening ceremonies.
I read that over 500 athletes along with approximately 350 volunteers attended, and after seeing the stands and the infield, I believe it! Everyone who could physically stand did so as the torch runners entered the track and brought the torch from our police department to the stadium. The Kansas State Highway Patrol, Crawford County Sheriff's Department, Pittsburg State University Police, and Pittsburg City Police all had runners who completed the entire run together. For the national anthem, the Pittsburg Fire Department had a ladder truck with extended ladder up, and an American flag attached to the ladder, parked so that it sat near the Jungletron. The Jungletron had a flag waving across the big screen. An athlete in the adult's division said the Pledge of Allegiance.
Once the ceremony ended folks scrambled all over the track and field to their destinations. Many of the adults had their events first on the track, and one man who participated on the track was 83 or 87 years old! We had an hour and 45 minutes between opening ceremonies and Kevin's first event, so we got to see a lot from the stands for a while.
Kevin's first event was the softball throw. He came in 3rd, but he tried hard. While he waited for his turn, I went to the end of his lane to get pictures, and ducked many balls from the next lane over. The boy from the next lane had a good arm and an amazing curve ball! Kevin's friend Shelby gave him lots of hugs before and after the event.
|Kevin and his para Mr. Matt from school|
The standing long jump came next. It was on the opposite long end of the field. We sat quite a while, then the festivities started. Kevin had 3 jumps, and made his best attempts. His dad coached him on how to jump.
|Kevin with his dad and stepmom at the standing long jump seating area|
The next two events came after a lunch prepared by the volunteers. The hotdogs on the grill, chips, apples, and water filled up the athletes, and we got some much needed rest in the shade by the PSU lake.
The 25 meter walk was something I won't forget anytime soon. Here various types of walkers stayed and waited their turns. There was the assisted walk, with paras holding hands to guide, children in large 4 legged rolling walkers, one child holding on to a para's leg. They walked and made their best efforts, and the grins were huge at the finish line. Kevin was in the regular walk, and came in 3rd. He was in the 25 meter run as well. He burned rubber in that one, well, Kevin's way. :) He came away with a gold in the run, and had to have help up the stairs as he was so tired after a day in the sun and doing all his activities!
Seeing all the events and activities makes me appreciate all the things Kevin is able to do. I know he has limitations, but he has been blessed with having must more independence than many of the children (and adults) there. According to the doctors when he was born, he wasn't to live through the night, then he wasn't to walk or talk, he was to have CP or other neurological disorders. Oh, he has problems, but nothing like many of the ones we saw yesterday. I'm very thankful for this!
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