special olympics... again

Years ago, Andy was invited to participate in the Pasco County Special Olympics. I let him go. He came home and got very sick. He had a high fever and was lethargic. I think it was sun poisoning.

The Pasco County Special Olympics is held at the end of February at one of the high schools. It's all day affair with lots of different events. Mostly the kids are outside in the sun all day waiting for their events. At that event, 3 years ago, the kids were not wearing their hats. They were not given enough to drink.

After that, I kept Andy home when the rest of the kids went to Special Olympics. He had the same teacher and I just didn't trust her lack of good judgement.

The events were to take place from 11:30 until 4:30. I did not go to any before and did not know what to expect.

This year, Andy has a new teacher and a new school. And this year, the Special Olympics would be local. Apparently, the event has gotten so big that they needed to split up the event into 2 days. So our school only had to walk next door rather than ride the bus for up to an hour one way.

(Another school left their canopy to participate in the events. We borrowed the area and danced. OK, only Andy and two peers danced.)

I had a photography meet-up that morning so I went there first. Then I stopped at Chick Fil A for lunch. I had packed only juice boxes in Andy's lunch. I made the mistake of going the shorter route through Zephyrhills. Zephyrhills is full of old people in no particular hurry to go anyway. If the speed limit is 50, expect them to go about 35.

I got to the school before noon. The parking lot was full so I got to park on the grass. I walked to the football field only to be met with a sea of blue. Almost everyone was wearing their blue special olympics shirts. Where is my son?

I called his teacher but she didn't answer. The noise level was high and she didn't hear the phone. I wandered about looking for Andy's group. I was approached by a woman who asked if I was Andy's mom. I learned that this was Miss C one of the paras in Andy's class. Ah... there is Andy!

Andy was happy to attack his chicken nuggets. He had already gone through 2 juice boxes while waiting for me to arrive.

(I tried to keep Andy occupied and let him use my iPhone to play Jeopardy. He liked the echo at the restrooms.)

Most of the schools has those portable canopies. I asked why our school did not have one especially since the high school had one. "We were not allowed to buy one." I wish I had known. They are not expensive and could be easily donated. I also which I had know to bring chairs. I guess I thought we would be sitting in the bleachers. Very few people sat in the bleachers.

Only a few parents came. We weren't given much notice so it might have been tough to get the time off. G's mom was there and she does not like the heat. It wasn't hot but beautiful Florida weather, sunny and 70. G's mom went home and got a couple of chairs and an umbrella. When her son wasn't sitting in one of the chairs, I claimed it.

Andy & G were scheduled for the same events. I had asked Andy was he was going to do and he said walk. But this was not true. Andy was going to ride a bike. His events were the 500m and 1k. They were scheduled to take place at 1:40pm and 2:20pm.

But this is Special Olympics where "organized chaos" is the rule of the day. They called our group several times though never said where were should go. We waited on the football field in the sun. The running events were taking longer and they had to finish and clear the track before the bikes could start.

The kids were bored. D had gotten a bike and was riding around the field. I thought I'd help Andy pick out a bike so he could ride too. Miss C did not know Andy could ride a two wheeled bike. During P.E., he asked for the three wheeled bike. I suspect it is more of a novelty.

Finally, Andy had to give up the bike so someone else could ride. The races were starting! Andy's first event did not get started until 3:00pm. He did OK. He is not competitive so he just rode at a leasurely pace. At home, he will try to "race" with the mail carrier's jeep or the UPS truck. But mostly he is just out to have fun.

We then had to wait for the next event. Lots of waiting about. By then, many of the other schools were leaving. I wonder if our events were delayed because we didn't have to take a bus back to our school. The bike Andy had ridden belonged to another school and was taken away. Andy had to wait for a bike to ride. He would have preferred to ride a three wheeled bike but I said no. Had I known that I could have brought his own bike, I would have done so.

We were done by 4:00pm. Andy was glad to leave. He said he wanted to go to Chick Fil A for more food. I obliged him bit he didn't eat much, maybe half of the fries.

Andy was sunburnt. I didn't think he would need sunblock. Because we spent so much time ready and waiting for the bikes, Andy wore his bike helmet which does not shield enough of his face. He did allow me to put some aloe on his face and his neck. And he did eat some chicken nuggets made at home.