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Winter 2001 Table of Contents
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Fun for All Ages

By Marsha Lindsey, Parent, Carrollton, Texas

On Saturday October 14, 2000, Region 10 Education Service Center held the 2nd Annual Sport Extravaganza at Nimitz High School in Irving, Texas. The day was warm and windy with the sun peeking out of the partly cloudy skies. We wore shorts and tee shirts anticipating a fun-filled day. My two-and-a-half-year-old son, Bryan, was signed up to participate in the obstacle course event that began at 10:00 a.m. Upon registering, Bryan received a tee shirt which he loved putting on and wearing. It made him feel special. He is special every day, but maybe more so on this day! As a parent of a visually impaired child and as a visually impaired person myself, I knew that my son would have tons of fun. But I truly did not know what to expect. I had only attended events such as this as a student at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. So for me to go to the Sport Extravaganza as a parent, was an exciting, new experience. I never once thought that I would be having more fun than Bryan. I got to see my son do many things that he would not normally get to do. It was also wonderful for Bryan's daddy, Chance, who loves to see his son excel in all things.

Earlier, the day started with events in track and field for students 6 to 22 years of age. There were many students from all over the state of Texas including TSBVI, Denton, and Irving. Many medals were given in the track and field events to speedy students who had a variety of visual impairments including those with multiple disabilities. It seemed that the sun would come out every time a student would receive a medal, which was often. My son, Bryan, being only two-and-a-half at the time, participated in the obstacle course. He was not the only little one having fun doing all of the obstacle course challenges. Due to Bryan's vision, he did have some difficulty with the course, but he had fun trying his best. And he did a great job. He even received a special medal from Kathy Rodriquez from Region 10. Though Bryan will probably not remember the event, I will be able to show him that he was an athlete at an early age. Also Bryan's O&M instructor ,Tricia Leone, was there to help him negotiate the obstacle course. So Bryan had many people cheering for him. The one thing that was so meaningful at this event was the encouragement of the bystanders. It was more important for the children to have fun than to win. Because in the eyes of the parents, sponsors, and volunteers every child, no matter the disability, was special, and was urged to do his/her very best.

After a morning full of events for the little ones and the young adults, lunch was served. The Lions Club provided lots of great food including hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and cookies. Bryan ate more food than I have ever seen him eat, and normally he is a very picky eater. Of course, after doing the challenge course numerous times, he was hungry. During lunch, Chance and I were able to have some adult time. We talked to Bryan's O&M instructor and Teacher of the Visually Impaired in a way that we had not been able to before. It was still a parent/teacher relationship but it felt more relaxed. We were able to learn more about these people who were working with our son. It was very important for me to have this time, since I normally see his instructor in a more formal way in our home or at school.

I saw many people, including former teachers, whom I had not seen in years. They did not know that I had children. I am now the mother of three children including Bryan. It was a good time for both my husband and me. After we finished eating and chatting with old friends and new, Bryan was tired from so many runs of the obstacle course, and we decided to leave. The events continued on without us, and many more students won medals. The students had fun even though they could not all win "the gold." Being able to participate and compete with other students with similar challenges was the best part.

I would like to say that I hope in the future that there are more events like this. Not so much for me but for my son, so that he can be challenged by the different physical activities. I would also like to say thank you to Region 10 for sponsoring the event and to the Lions Club for the wonderful food. And another thank you must go to the volunteers who helped make this a wonderful event. It could not have happened without all of you. It truly was a FUN DAY FOR ALL AGES!!!

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Last Revision: September 3, 2003