I can't post pictures from the Maryland State Special Olympic Games while here at work. You'll just have to close your eyes and imagine it. Hey!! [tap-tap-tap] not now! open your eyes, finish reading first. sheesh. I'll try to publish photos between kid events later.
Friday after school Kevin and I went up to Towson for the Games. Somebody at school put him on the bus when they weren't supposed to, so I had to meet the bus at the community center and ultimately, we were 45 minutes late. [image of angry mom, arms crossed, tapping foot]
We moved into our dorm room and joined the team for dinner. It was raining so the opening ceremonies were held inside. They didn't do the parade of
The program lasted over two hours. I wanted to go to bed. There were hundreds and hundreds of athletes and coaches trying to get back to the dorms on the buses so Kevin and I walked. I told our coaches my plans. One was worried, it's night, it's far, do you know the way... I said, I have a map and a degree in geography, I'll be fine. The other coach laughed. Kevin and I made it back probably a full 10 minutes before the others and that's only because Kevin walks slower than I do.
I didn't sleep well, too cold. I don't mind a cool room, but I counter that with a heavy blanket, except I didn't have a heavy blanket.
Kevin and I got up to join the team for breakfast. After breakfast it was on to the pool. There is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait time with this sort of event. The swimmers generally just stay in the team circle until it's time to be staged. This was our first time at States so I had to learn the routines and keep track of The Boy. He was swimming in event #62 25M Free. Although the listings all said 25M Free, I think the pool was only 25 yards long. Oh well. Anyway, right before he was to be staged, Kevin decided to explore. He wanted to watch the races. We finally found him.
I was impressed with the way the events were run. The small qualifier meets we'd been to before were not near this organized. The swimmers were called up to pre-staging by event numbers. They sat in rows by their lane number. As the front row was escorted into staging, the other groups moved up a row of chairs. [image of Kevin waiting with his fellow swimmers]
Eventually, each heat group was taken into the next room, row by row, then to the pool deck. There were places for five heats on the deck. I stayed with Kevin the whole time from pre-staging until his group was escorted onto the deck, then I went to sit in the stands to watch. [image of Kevin ready to swim or maybe an image of his heat in queue on the deck]
He swam well, really used his arms. The qualifying times of his competitors were all within 4 seconds, I thought he might have a chance to win. I reminded him the whole time waiting in staging, long arms, reach... Sometimes he gets lazy and doggy-paddles. Coming down the stretch I guessed Kevin was going to finish 5th or 6th, it was a tight race. He got to the end and forgot to touch the wall and when he did, it was a 7th place finish. [image of a line of eight wet towel-draped swimmers on the medal stands, Kevin on the far right, receiving ribbons and medals for their accomplishments]
Kevin didn't have anymore events for the day so I took him down to the Baltimore Zoo. I invited Dan to drive up to join us and he did. [arty image of elephant trunk and underwater image of swimming polar bear]
Something triggered in Kevin's brain and he didn't want to go back to Towson after the zoo. We tried to distract him with a trip to the mall where we bought some shorts for him and two cool deck chairs. He still didn't want to go anywhere but home.
So Dan took him home.
I drove back to Towson and cleared out the room and drove back to Bowie. I was heart broken, sad because Kevin loves to swim but he didn't want to swim any more.
Saturday night at home was fine, I don't remember much. Kevin was fine unless he was asked about swimming, NO Swimming!. I did ask him if he wanted Five Guys for lunch tomorrow.
I couldn't do laundry since the washer was dead. The new one is being delivered Saturday. The first load will be towels. I think I can last that long with what we have now. I'm trying not to need to go to the laundromat. We have a busy week, there's no room in the schedule for a trip there.
I woke up at 5:30 ahead of my alarm. Dan, Kevin and I were in the car back to Towson by 6:15. At that point all Kevin knew was if he wanted Five Guys for lunch, he had to get in the car. At some point in the ride Dan asked me what Kevin had that day, and all I said was "50 Free and 25 Back." Kevin went ballistic again: "NO Swimming!" but I kept driving.
When we got to the university we found the team in the dining hall for breakfast. Did I mention how bad the food was? Horrible. Catered by the same company for years. They oughtta be fired. We ate on the way up. The coaches were so glad to see Kevin'd come back. Kevin's mood was better when he saw them, too.
The 50 Freestyle was the second race of the day after #144, the 1500 Free. Kevin's event heat was #163 so we waited in staging for a long time. I kept coaching him over and over: long arms, touch the wall, swim back. He's forgotten to turn and swim back right away in qualifiers before.
I joined Dan in the stands when Kevin's group was escorted to the pool deck. He'd been watching the women's heats of the 50 free. They run the heats slowest to fastest putting swimmers in groups so they have no more than a 15% difference in qualifying times. I had just missed the fastest woman's heat. Dan told me the woman who won finished in 27-point-something seconds, impressive. I looked up on Towson's Pool Record board, the record for the 50 free was 22-point-something seconds. Kinda makes the the SO win even more impressive.
Kevin swam brilliantly, touched the wall and remembered to come back. His qualifying time was 1:40, he finished in 1:11 winning first by 17 seconds. He even would have won the next heat with that time. [image of the field with Kevin in a big lead] [movie of the medal ceremony with Kevin, blue towel wrapped around his legs, in the center on the top step fidgeting until his name is called]
We got a short break before we were back in staging again for the 25 back. This time I coached him "head back long arms." This time the race was tight, maybe he was second, maybe he was third, couldn't tell. This time he turned over too much to touch the wall at the end. "Shoulder past vertical" was the DQ explanation. Didn't matter much. Kevin stood on the medal stands just like before with a big smile on his face. To him, life is good, gold or not, and better with a Five Guys burger for lunch.