More than 530 Special Olympians charged the grounds at Parkersburg South High School for the statewide fall games. Teams from around the state traveled here to compete in bowling, volleyball, and football.
Though these athletes may have physical obstacles to overcome.Their determination and competitiveness push them to succeed.
"In Special Olympics we have a wide range of athletes. We have athletes very high functioning, some lower functioning, a lot with different issues so a lot of our athletes have obstacles, some more than others, but it's amazing cause once they get out on the field they are just like anybody else," says West Virginia Special Olympics Sports and Training Director Dave Bromiley.
Fans lined the field as Boone and Upshur counties played in the championship game. The teams were noticeably fired up and rooting each other on as they played for the win.
"Winning is just as important to them as it is other people. The sportsmanship is great," says Bromiley. "They enjoy it. They have a lot of their friends, even from other counties so it's just a great opportunity for them to compete and regardless of whatever challenges they have, today was their Super Bowl."
For the first time since beginning their participation in the fall games the Boone County team came out on top. The coach and team were thrilled to have made it to this point together as a family.
"They not only are growing through this program, but they are also helping me to come to a realization with some of my shortcomings and faults because you have to be so sensitive when dealing with Special Olympians," says Boone volunteer coach Richard Knapp. "These kids have been special to me."
Each athlete walks away with new friends and a sense of accomplishment. But long-time participant Roger Tenney says it has also helped him to cope with other disabilities.
"It has really helped me to understand the qualities of other people with disabilities...how to get along with them," he says.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of this program and anyone can see how they lift the spirits of all involved. Bringing hope and happiness to those who need it.