Special Olympics Hold Softball Tournament

They live their lives to be just like everyone else.  A group of special olympians took to the softball fields in Tyler saturday.

The games are a little about competition, but a lot about fun.  Paul Turner knows as well as anyone how special these athletes are.

"Special olympic athletes are unique individuals, they don't understand the meaning of the word quit, they don't understand I can't do it and all they want to do is be rewarded for the effort they put forward."

He's not just a volunteer with special olympics, he's also a parent.

"We knew when (Tim) was 2-3 months old that he was different," he said  "We knew he was different but then again he is special."

Paul's son, Tim, is one of the hundreds of athletes that compete in special olympics across East Texas each year.  From swimming to track and field, and softball, the events give these athletes a chance to be like everyone else.

"They have the best time the athletes get so much from competition the successes they see on the field lead to successes they see in their everyday lives," said Stacy Edwards, program director for area 7.

While not always successful, when you ask the athletes why they do it their answers are simple.

"I like seeing my friends and playing softball," said tim turner.

For volunteers like paul, their reasoning is simple too.

"When they come up to you and give you a hug and an ear to ear grin I feel like I'm a pretty big guy and can handle myself but it melts me like butter."

Win or lose everyone on this field comes away a winner.

All the athletes that compete in the Special Olympics are mentally challenged.  Special Olympic events are held throughout the year and they are always looking for more volunteers.  If you would like to help, you can find some more information through the link below.

Chris Gibson, reporting