(NECN: Kristen Carosa) – Worcester’s Foley Stadium hosted a very special event Wednesday. Developmentally challenged kids from the public school system took part in the mini-Olympics.
“Who cares about winning? Let’s have some fun,” says William Thomas.
That's the attitude Thomas came into Worcester's special mini-Olympics with. But, don't get him wrong; he came to play. He just wasn't worried about winning.
“Just have fun; who cares. Sometimes it just doesn't matter; just have fun. That's what matters to me,” he says.
Thomas was one of many kids with intellectual disabilities competing out on Foley Field Wednesday. The athletic event, which is in its seventh year, gives kids the chance to feel like champions.
“They feel as though it's a day where they can achieve a victory; they are celebrating what they can do and not about what they can't do,” says Kay C Seale.
Kids from 12 different schools from grades 4-8 competed in walking, running, throwing and jumping events.
“They have been practicing these events and today they can really show off their skills and of course have fun,” says Colleen O’Brien.
Thirteen-year-old Sean Hamilton has been practicing his throw for months, and his hard work paid off.
“I got a medal for the soft ball throwing,” he said.
And he wasn’t alone; hundreds of medals were given out.
“There is no second, third or fourth; everyone gets a medal for participating; everyone gets a medal for cheering; everyone gets a medal for running down the track, and that is what it’s all about,” says organizer Megan Paradis.
She says when you looked around, there was no shortage of smiles and laughter.
Fans in the stand cheered the athletes along, and students were there to pat each other on the back after every event.
“Everyone deserves this day; everyone deserves coming down to Foley Stadium and hear applause, hear the music and know that the day is just for them.”
And again, it’s not about whether you win or lose; it's just about having fun.
It’s something Thomas already knew, but that message hit home Wednesday.
“You might lose and that's okay; next time you might get some more strength and win for once.”