The beginning of a new adventure often brings forth emotions of thrill and excitement. Special Olympics Missouri athlete, Gabe Metzger of Cape Girardeau and his family are at the forefront of such emotions with their recent involvement with Special Olympics.
Gabe has only been competing for a year thus far. However, he appears to have an interest that will last for a lifetime.
“When Gabe gets involved, he does not mess around,” said Southeast Area Director, Penny Williams. “He gets completely involved. He has had so many opportunities in such a short period of time – he is all about it!”
The first opportunity where Gabe could get involved was at the Area Spring Games held in Cape Girardeau.
“He began this event, the way many Special Olympics athletes dream of starting the event, by running the ceremonial torch in the Opening Ceremony,” Williams said.
This experience alone would have been memorable for any athlete. It was extra special for the Metzger family because it allowed Cape Girardeau P.D. officer father Ty, to run with his Special Olympics Missouri athlete son, Gabe.
“What an honor and a privilege it was for both of us to get to do this,” Ty said.
Gabe’s first experience was indeed unique for him and his family, but those memorable moments for the Metzger family kept on coming.
It was at Gabe’s SOMO area swim meet where he received three gold medals. Once again, this alone would have been a memorable achievement for any athlete, but there was more.
“To make the day even better, was that his teachers from Jackson and his sisters were all there to support him,” Williams said. “He was so fired up that he even swam extra laps. Gabe’s face was lit with excitement as he knew, and understood, that all those people were there just for him.”
When asked, Gabe and his father said, “This was the best day!”
Gabe’s support does not end with his family and friends. It can also be felt among the local community.
He was lucky enough to be asked by the Cape Girardeau Police Department to join them in their leg of the State Summer Games Law Enforcement Torch Run.
This particular torch run provided a different atmosphere compared to the Opening Ceremony at the Area Spring Games. Gabe ran through a major city street with people from surrounding businesses and the citizens of the community all cheering for Gabe, his father and many other law enforcement officers.
“All of the officers talked about Gabe and how much they loved having him be a part of the run,” Williams said.
It’s evident that Gabe has had several memorable days in his brief involvement with Special Olympics Missouri thus far. Those days have left an impact on his life, the surrounding community and his family and friends as well.
“Special Olympics has become so much more to us,” Ty said. “It is no longer just a great day or a series of great days for Gabe – it has become a part of our life every day.”
Special Olympics Missouri provides unique opportunities for every individual involved, whether they are law enforcement officers, volunteers, family members and obviously athletes. Therefore, the emotions of thrill and excitement are bound to happen when an athlete and their family begin a new adventure.