In early July, the city of Ames, Iowa landed the role as host for the 2006 National Special Olympic Games, and this first ever event gave many talented athletes the opportunity to become a part of history by representing Louisiana in a variety of competitions.
The Louisiana softball team brought home the gold medal for their performance at the games with the help of two very determined St. Charles Parish softball players.
Ron Davis of Hahnville made the long trip to Iowa, along with many others, to exhibit their skills in the sport of softball.
As a child, Davis was diagnosed with Autism, but has not let his disability stand in the way of what he wants to accomplish in life.
"My motto is, 'Do what you have to do, and give them all you've got,'" said Davis.
Davis, who plays shortstop, said that he wanted to participate in the games because he loves the excitement of competition, and has played softball since he was 11-years-old.
After winning the gold medal Davis said he felt like a true winner, and couldn't wait to share the news with his family.
"It felt so good when I heard that the softball team won the gold," said Davis' grandmother. "I was so proud of Ron."
In addition to softball, Davis said that he enjoyed many of the other activities that were available to him at the sporting event.
"My favorite part was the festival village," said Davis. "At night, we had the chance to play games and hang out with other athletes."
Accompanying Davis to the games in Iowa, were his coaches, and one of his fellow teammates, Darrin Mouton, of Luling.
Mouton, who plays third base, has played an active role in recreation softball in the parish, and was happy to be part of Team Louisiana.
"I've played softball since I was 13-years-old, and was excited to go to the national games," said Mouton.
Mouton's participation in the Special Olympics also gave him the opportunity to visit with many of his relatives who lived within the vicinity of the games.
"I am originally from Iowa, and it was nice to have some of my family come out to see me play," said Mouton.
Both softball players are looking forward to participating in the next Special Olympic games, but have decided that they may engage in some of the other sporting competitions.
Davis said that he will probably begin training for either cycling or bowling, and Mouton said he would like to enter in the basketball competition.
So what does the future hold for these two star athletes?
Davis just celebrated his 20th birthday, and has recently become the proud owner of his first driver's license.
He plans to attend Nicholls State University to fulfill his dream of being a chef by earning a degree from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.
"I would like to one day be able to open my own restaurant that serves good, home-cooked food," said Davis.
Mouton, a Hahnville High School alumnus, is looking forward to his ten year high school reunion in September, and hopes to continue is work with the parish's Department of Parks and Recreation.
"I not only play softball for the recreation department, but I been working for them for several years," said Mouton.
Davis said that after the team won the gold medal, one Louisiana State University coach had a few congratulatory words of inspiration for them, "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Till your good is your better, and your better is your best."
Both athletes were awarded with plaques of recognition for their participation in the games at last week's parish council meeting.
|Team Louisiana scores big at the National Special Olympics.|