Five Valleys Special Olympics kicks off summer games

Posted at 3:15 PM, May 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-02 18:20:18-04

FRENCHTOWN – If you’re ever feeling like you’re not accomplishing anything and are mired in your own “pity party”, the perfect solution is to spend an afternoon with our Montana Special Olympics athletes.

There’s nothing quite like having dozens of your classmates cheering you on. But that’s exactly what happened to Dalton, as he was one of the hometown favorites as the Five Valleys Special Olympics moved to Frenchtown for the Summer Games.

But the cheering wasn’t limited to him, as dozens of other athletes from around west-central Montana, gathered to compete in the varied events they’ve been waiting for all year long.

This is the day to shine, even if the sun wasn’t at times. And for many of the athletes, this week’s games are extra important, because not all of the teams will be going to the State Games later this month in Great Falls.

So that means extra effort and extra encouragement for everyone. While many of the athletes have been doing these events for years, some of the younger ones are just learning the sense of accomplishment the competition can bring.

The feeling of overcoming obstacles and learning to believe in yourself. And the hugs, high fives and ribbons make it fun for everyone, no matter where you finish.

And it’s not just the athletes. Hanging at the Special Olympics is guaranteed to improve your mood, and somehow makes a bad day seem a whole lot better.

While you can cheer the speed, the real emotion can hit you at any pace, as for just a minute, you put yourself in the athletes’ place, seeing the obstacle, and the perseverance.

The athletes will be competing in bocce ball at Fort Missoula and swimming in Missoula on Thursday — and they always welcome fans.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News