BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A handful of local athletes competed in Columbus with the Mahoning County Public Special Olympics team.
Fourteen athletes from the Valley made up the team of warriors competing in the state games.
“I love the atmosphere, I love the people, the coaches are really good,” Justin Arabe said.
They’re proving any athlete can compete.
“Yeah, we are different from other people but who cares? We’re still regular people no matter what,” Andrew Lane said.
“We’re not there to win, win, win, we are there to have fun,” said bowling coach Marcia Trebus.
But on top of the fun, they did win. Athletes competed in both bowling and track and field, bringing home 16 medals.
For these warriors, it’s all about the team.
“I brought the gold home for my athletes. We did it together, as a team, as family and friends,” Eric Trebus said.
That family includes the coaching staff.
Marcia coaches bowling, while Ken Goldsboro coaches track.
“It’s just very rewarding,” he said. “I mean, they’ve taught me a lot more than I’ve ever taught them.”
Like the meaning of the Special Olympics pledge — “Let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
“The joy in their faces and I don’t even think they care if it’s a gold, bronze or whatever. They just love to do it. Period,” Marcia said.
There’s also an assistant track coach who’s even more special to the team. Jerry Lyda used to compete but now has a passion for coaching.
“I just want to help and coach. That’s what I want to do,” he said.
Jerry said he loves seeing his athletes win and have fun.
“I was so happy, I was. Great athletes. I got happy for them.”