By: Chuck Crews
Three years ago, I had just finished playing a round of golf and I saw a friend who was getting ready to tee off with her Special Olympics Unified Partner. They looked like they were ready to have a great time, as did the rest of the group; they were all chomping at the bit to get on the course. Some of them didn’t look like great golfers; I know that look because I’m not a great golfer, but they all looked excited and happy to be there. I was lucky enough to get introduced to Jody Cook, who runs the golf program and all of the other Columbia Parks and Rec opportunites for Special Olympics athletes. “Of course we can use another volunteer,” she assured me, and signed me up for the next season. Jody matched me up with my golfing partner, Duke.
“Of course we can use another volunteer,” she assured me.
Since then I’ve laughed and smiled and high fived my way through practice rounds, district competition and this year the state golf tournament. Duke is a young 40 something guy with a huge smile and a pretty good putter. I’ve gotten to know him well and we’ve been to many volleyball and basketball games at Columbia College and The University of Missouri. He loves sports and is very knowledgeable about the local teams. I don’t think I’ve ever taken him somewhere that someone didn’t come up to us and want to talk to him. The last two years I’ve volunteered with the basketball program and have also enjoyed that immensely and will likely be the head coach of Duke’s team this year. If you’re not currently involved with the Special Olympics, you might want to consider giving it a try.