LAKE BUENA VISTA – The Special Olympics championships returned to the ESPN Zone at Walt Disney World, and Clay County’s Powerlifting Team performed in amazing fashion and brought home four gold …
LAKE BUENA VISTA – The Special Olympics championships returned to the ESPN Zone at Walt Disney World, and Clay County’s Powerlifting Team performed in amazing fashion and brought home four gold medals, two silver medals, and a fourth-place finish.
The effort was a combined effort of the coaches and volunteers from the Foundation of Strength charity and Steel Mill Fleming Island. As amazing as this performance was, it stuck out as a return to sport. A return to the pre-COVID 19 lifestyles at least in some part.
The opening ceremonies were fantastic. There were athletes, parents and coaches from all over the state. More than 600 athletes competed in multiple sports. There were some differences from years past such as the wearing of masks, but the enthusiasm of everyone involved palpitated throughout the arena.
The opening ceremonies ended with a huge police escort from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office followed by the lighting of the torch. After last year’s Special Olympics having a short season and no championship everyone was ready to show up and put on a show.
This has also been seen in high school sports throughout the state. The kids are ready to compete, and the coaches are ready to get back to training just like we did before the pandemic. To go to a school or club sporting event right now seems almost like a blessing. One that we previously took for granted. The cheers seem louder, the kids seem even more enthused, and everyone seems happy to be out and about.
This goes to show the importance of sport in the American lifestyle. Yes, it is entertaining to watch and fun to participate in. However, the things we love about the sport, in general, seem so important right now. The hard work and dedication to a goal, the struggle of competition all this builds character.
Until this was taken away from us as Americans during the pandemic, we did not truly realize how much sport means to us. In Florida, we have been lucky enough to not be in complete lockdown as long as other states, but we all had to go through the change in every aspect of our daily lives.
As a coach, I have seen this year as a transition for families and athletes. The youth athletes smile a little more and see the competition as a true privilege as opposed to necessity. I’ve seen parents take a more active role in their children’s sport and overall health. This is the essence of sport, and we are all glad to see it return.
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