This is the first guest blog post by Unified Partner Larry Hughes on the bocce team attending the 2018 USA Games. For more blog posts from Team Missouri delegates, visit www.SOMO.org/USAGames.
It was about a year ago that I returned home from Selection Camp and was pretty confident I was going to get selected to go the Seattle to represent Team Missouri in bocce. But there was still the waiting… and more waiting… and then the doubt creeps in that maybe I didn’t get picked… and finally the announcement. With the pride that came with being selected was the immediate feeling of, “I’m not ready! I have so much to do to prepare.”
As weeks and months passed, we had meetings, and practices, and we tried on clothes, took team pictures, and practiced and took pictures and learned what food to eat and not eat, tried on clothes, and raised money, and tried on clothes… did I mention we had our picture taken A LOT and tried on lots of clothes?
But the whole time, I knew I wasn’t ready. I needed more practice. I needed to make sure I was doing whatever I could to get better for my athlete, my fellow teammates, my friends and family who donated so I could go, the whole state of Missouri, and also for me. I have been playing bocce for more than 10 years, and I have this one chance to do this. I must do my best.
So there was more practice, and thousands of steps, and making better food choices (ok – I may have had a few french fries and a brownie now and then.) I read about bocce, and learned from an international bocce champion, and reviewed the rules and practiced, and practiced, and practiced some more. Some of those practices were great. Others, I was terrible and felt like I didn’t even know how to play. My accuracy was awful, my release was all wrong. I started thinking, “Oh my gosh what if I play like this in Seattle? What a disaster that’s going to be. I’m NOT ready…”
Now it’s time. We leave in just a few days. Only one more practice is scheduled. One week from today I will finally be playing for a medal at the USA Games.
Am I ready?
YOU BET I AM! Let’s go!