Practice is now in session for soccer and track and field programs. My son is in track. He walks, he doesn't run. He's also in the softball throw. At 21, he doesn't talk but he loves those Special Olympics. You can tell by the smile on his face when he's there. When he was little, we couldn't keep anything on his walls, he kept pulling it all down. After his first year in the Special Olympics, we did a collage with his medals and other Special Olympics souvenirs and that was the first thing he left on his walls. Special Olympics is for EVERYONE. They even have a mixed race for people who have brothers or sisters that are in the Special Olympics so they can compete against their own siblings. Spring is late getting here and track has been cold and rainy, but they all show up anyway, most of them with smiles on their faces. Some of them talk non-stop, some don't talk at all, but they all have fun and they all work hard to get those medals. At the same time, they treat each other with respect and dignity. I saw a race of old women (there is no upper age limit for the Special Olympics). One of them was way ahead of the others, over 1/2 the track ahead. As she came around towards the stands, she heard us cheering for her and she stopped and smiled and waved at us. She just stood there as the other women passed her up, the last woman stopped, turned around, went back and took her by the hand across the finish line. One young man had already earned a gold and a bronze medal and he kept seeing the silver medals and asking what they were for, when someone told him "second place" in his next race he was in the lead, but stopped, right at the finish line and waited for someone to cross in front of him, so he could then cross and get the silver. He was so proud of having the whole set. Regionals are August 25th, and state is May 30-Jun 1st. Let's hope the whole team gets gold at the Regionals so they can all go to state. I highly advise anyone interested to get online now and volunteer for the Special Olympics, you won't find many more rewarding experiences in your life.