Respect, Perseverance, Fairplay, Sportsmanship

What you are witnessing here is my descent into humility and my ascent to friendship with a young man named Andrew. This picture was taken yesterday during an Olympic Day celebration at Babler State Park in suburban St. Louis. Olympic Day commemorates the birth of the modern games. Every June 23rd, cities around the world celebrate with fun and friendly competition.

St. Louis’ celebration featured a collaboration between the St. Louis Sports Commission and the Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA). DASA hosts a week long camp called WECANDU each summer with its athletes. The schedule is full of sports and other activities for children of all abilities. There is not a dull moment all week. Our celebration showcased the talents and tutelage of Paralympic gold medal-winning shot putter Ed Cockrell and Paralympic racer Erin Johnson. The kids learned from the best and then they got a chance to play with the best.

Kelly Behlmann is the Executive Director of DASA and she is passionate about her kids. There is no greater advocate for kids anywhere than Behlmann. She motivates, participates, and celebrates with the kids. If actions speak louder than words, Behlmann’s dedication breaks the sound barrier. Kids named Amare, DeJuan, Cody, Nate, Jackson, Julia, and a host of Michaels and Andrews showed me that all anyone ever needs is a chance. They’ll handle the rest on their own.

Yesterday was a lot of fun and it was a learning experience too. As I said before, the young man’s name in the picture above is Andrew. When I first met Andrew, he was literally tumbling down a hill in his wheelchair. My first instinct was to run over and help him. Before I took a step forward, Andrew had set the brake on his chair and climbed back in. Fast forward three hours and it was me who was about to tumble down a hill on a hand cycle. Look who rushed to help me. Until next time…

Be a Good Sport!

-Sol

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