On Saturday, Hugger had a district Special Olympic softball tournament. It was in north KC, so we loaded the family and went down on Friday evening. We visited with George and Liz a while, then spent the night with Ben and Julie. The next morning - we all got together again at the first game. It was a fun time of visiting with family as we watched Hugger and his team play ball. We hadn't been free to spend much time with granddaughter H. in recent weeks, so we especially enjoyed her. The day was hot, but we sat in the shade of the concession building, and had a good time just hanging out together. A couple of lawn chairs, some stacked milk crates for additional seating, nachos, cold drinks, and family makes a great day. After the games, we spent the afternoon with Ben and Julie, playing with Hannah, and just resting in the air conditioning. It was a wonderful, relaxing day -- the kind that don't seem to come around very often because of busy schedules -- so even more of a treasure.
Hugger - #21 (still hugging)
The Roadrunners finished the day with a bronze medal (Way To Go, Team!). They are hoping to be chosen as one of the teams to compete in the state tournament coming up in August.
Hugger has been in Special Olympics for several years, with basketball being his favorite sport, and softball coming in second. He also has bowled, played soccer, done gymnastics and other sports at different times. The Special Olympic program here has grown over the years, and is a great opportunity. In the early years, most of us as parents try to keep our kids included in regular activities and education as much as possible. This gives our kids role models and typical peer interaction. As time goes on, though, it's obvious that the gap is growing wider between our kids' and others' abilities, and we begin to make changes, sometimes without even realizing it. There comes a time that we know our kids need to be in a different classroom, or on a different team, in order to achieve success -- whether it be academically, physically, or emotionally. In the end, we see that his true friends are others with disabilities also, and really, isn't that true of all of us? Our best friends are those who are very much like ourselves in many ways.
Thanks to Ben for the photos!