Special Olympics training is a community effort
BATON ROUGE - All over the Capitol City area, a special group of athletes prepare to compete in the Special Olympics.
As individuals, they all represent stories of courage and perseverance to continue in their quest for gold.
Take, for example, Darryl Robinson, who will compete in the 50 meter assisted walk and softball throw.
Darryl was born with cerebal pasly, but has won 21 gold, 10 silver, and 1 bronze medal in various Special Olympics events.
Despite his challenges, Darryl always wanted to compete.
"My mom and my dad were athletes," Darryl said. "I just thought if they could play sports, so could I."
As a group, the Special Olympians represent a group who build each other up by their community in practice and participation.
"Often times people with disabilities have isolation issues," says area coach Paul Landry. "But if you can get them all together and get them some physical activity, they begin to help each other."
Paulette Roberts, an area coach in Walker, agrees: "They become friends and they start to do better to try and out-do the other one and they just work well together."
Sandy Naquin, whose daughter Shanell Theriot was born with downs syndrome and participates in bocce ball, says the athletes are an inspiration.
"I just wish every family had a special needs person: maybe the world would be a better place," Naquin said.
"Look at the world we live in...A lot of hate. These kids have love."
The Special Olympics state games take place in Hammond from May 20-22.