This past Saturday, we headed up to Northwest Arkansas (NWA) for a Special Olympics Powerlifting meet.
Now, Jim coaches Joshua...he is certified as a Special O Powerlifting coach, but the man who is over all the Special O Powerlifting in Arkansas...is Coach Lee. And this meet was in Coach Lee's "area."
Arkansas is divided up into "areas" for Special Olympics. The "areas" are the larger counties...or maybe 2 (or sometimes more) counties grouped together. Each will have their own Special Olympics competitions and games...and then the top-scoring athletes will compete at the STATE games.
We don't have Powerlifting competitions in our area, where we live now, so we travel to other places so that Joshua can compete.
We got up early, and headed out...Jim, Joshua, and me. Everyone else either had plans or had to work. We stopped for breakfast at the Chick-Fil-A drive-through...which is pretty much the highlight of any trip with make with Joshua. He loves him some Chick.
It was a beautiful day in NWA. Cool and breezy...but sunny. Soooo pretty. The Powerlifting competition was held in the weight room of a junior high school gym...but the track and field events were outside.
This was a small meet...only 6 athletes. Jim was tickled. He said, "we'll be out of here in NO TIME."
Well. More about that later, because the highlight of MY trip happened when we walked into the weight room. There was a lady dressed as Wonder Woman.
Imma gonna let that sink in a minute.
And, I couldn't tell if she was one of the Special O athletes, or if she was a parent...or a coach. I didn't know.
But I admired the heck out of her enthusiasm.
She wasn't wearing the tights, but she had on the shirt, the headband...AND THE CAPE.
I could not take my eyes off her. And the strangest thing was...no one else even batted an eye.
I'm guessin' this wasn't Wonder Woman's first appearance at ye olde Powerlifting meets.
I ended up thinking that she was probably a teacher...or maybe a coach. Maybe the Special Ed teacher, who coached a couple of the athletes. Whatever. She and her group cheered for everyone, and she made me smile.
So, the athletes all got there and were weighed in. Coach Lee always gets up in front of the group, and talks a little bit about Powerlifting...the rules...and how the meet will go. It was during this time that he said these words that pierced Jim's heart like a knife: "Powerlifting is a slower sport. Those athletes out on the track? They have to RUN to try and beat each other. Here, we are trying to beat ourselves...trying to do better/lift more than we did the last time. This is a small meet today, and we are in NO HURRY...so we are going to take our time in-between each rotation, so that every athlete has ample time to rest before their next lift. We will also take a break between the bench-press session, and the dead-lift session...just so everyone feels refreshed and ready to do their best."
Jim's head? Blew right off.
Because he's always got a thousand things going on in his head at all times.
In fact, if you put Jim on one end of the spectrum...Coach Lee would be on the exact opposite end.
I "get" the way both of them are...because when you work in an office or in the business world, it is typically fast-paced. You make plans and trust that people will show up on time...and show up prepared. You have high expectations. You accept no excuses. You move from one meeting or conference or job...to another...fitting in as much as possible into each day.
But when you work with athletes who have special needs, you have to have a different mindset. You have to move at a slower pace. You have to be flexible, patient, and willing to accept that not much will go according to plan.
Both types of people are necessary in this world. :)
Joshua did very well in this meet. He weighed in at a whopping 118.5 WITH HIS SHOES ON. He bench-pressed #145, and he dead-lifted #195. He ended up with THREE gold medals.
And, in a typical "just like dad" moment, he spent the 20+ minutes he waited in line with his group...while their scores were being calculated...looking at his watch, and muttering under his breath about it being lunch time, and how Coach Lee needed to HURRY UP.
We ate lunch at Braum's, and then bugged out of town. Which, if you've never eaten at Braum's, three things: their food? Not that good. Their french fries? They're awesome. And, their cappuccino chunky chocolate ice-cream is my spirit animal.
And Jim? Don't you worry about him. He slept all the way home.
"I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should..." 1 Corinthians 9:27