The loss of sporting events because of Covid-19 has been a hard pill to swallow for all athletes in Lawrence County and everywhere else for that matter.
But there’s one group that might be taking it harder than anyone else.
It’s usually this time of the month that the Lawrence County Special Olympics takes place. It’s a special time of year for a group of very special athletes to participate in a one of a kind event.
Some may say that it’s not one of a kind, that most counties have their own Special Olympics, including Morgan County which hosts one every year at Decatur High School.
But trust me, here in Lawrence County, it’s one of a kind.
No one in North Alabama does the Special Olympics like Lawrence County, and that’s a statement that you can take all the way to the bank.
Simply put, when it comes to Special Olympics, nobody around here does it quite like Lawrence County.
“They just know how to go the extra mile,” said a local individual.
There are so many individuals that are involved with making it a grand festival each year. Not just teachers, but students, parents and countless volunteers that have no affiliation whatsoever, but just want to help out.
Teachers help with the athletes and students do their part by helping out wherever they’re needed, which includes dressing up as popular characters such as Spiderman, Elsa from Frozen and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then volunteers help out in areas they’re needed such as concessions.
It’s a big event that takes a lot of people to pull if off, and Lawrence County is fortunate enough to have people that care enough to help.
Then there’s the athletes.
The Special Olympics is a ton of fun, but it isn’t a fun day. The athletes that compete are there to compete and compete they do.
Lawrence County has a rich special needs athletics program, which includes two state championships in basketball in the last three years.
The competitive drive shows up on the field every year.
Two years ago 112 athletes competed in front of 1800 fans at the event for a shot at the state tournament that takes place every year in Troy. Of those 112, 30 qualified for the event.
It’s tough times we’re going through and we’re missing out on so many things. But it’s especially heartbreaking to not have the Special Olympics.
It’s an event the athletes look forward to 364 days out of the year.
Hopefully, when all this is over, there will be a way to make up for the lost time