Panhandle SOTX host 2013 Springs Games

Saturday the Panhandle Special Olympics Spring Games were hosted at Boys Ranch.

A day of competition on the track and field gave special needs athletes an opportunity to excel in sports, and gave them opportunity to socialize with others.

"This is a program that doesn't limit an athlete because of their age/disability," said SOTX Volunteer Carla Hughes. "Or because of anything else that might be wrong with them. This is an all-encompassing opportunity for them."

Like any other athlete, they strive for success and to do their best.

"They have such an overwhelming enthusiasm about what they're doing. Their motto is, 'let me win, but if not, let me be the best I can be,'" said Hughes.

Though the spring games are a one day event, training is a yearlong process.

"We have practices like once a week," said Female Athlete of the Year Patti Ballew. "We practice running, relays and running long jump."

On and off the track and field these athletes are among the best.

Saturday morning many received recognition for their dedication, and hard work. Ballew was named, female athlete of the year.

"I felt emotional, you try so hard, every year, you know? I was doing my best," said Ballew.

Without a good attitude, coaches and volunteers said their success would be limited.

"When you can be with somebody every single day, and the single word they never have in their vocabulary is 'I can't,' you never hear them say, 'I can't,'" said Hughes.

In the eyes of countless volunteers, it's this personality that makes each athlete a winner.

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