Frankfort State Journal
June 9, 2011 Kristina Betsworth
Growing up, Camray, a 22-year-old student at Stewart Home School, remembers acting as manager and water boy for his brother’s football team. He boasts about his brother’s talent on the field, saying he was the team’s star player.
This past weekend, Camray tasted stardom for himself.
Playing on one of his school’s flag football teams, Camray scored the first touchdown of the game in this year’s Kentucky Special Olympics summer games.
The quarterback handed him the ball and yelled, “Run, run, run,” Camray said.
“It felt pretty good.”
Though his team ended up with silver, it was a gold-medal moment for Camray. He now wears his Special Olympics medal on a keychain hooked to his belt loop and proudly shows it off.
“The most fun part is making touchdowns,” said 26-year-old Will, another flag football player. “My secret for football is running fast. Coach said you got to stay on your man every time.”
Stewart Home School entered four teams, a total of 68 athletes, in this year’s Special Olympics, at Eastern Kentucky University. They brought home more than 100 medals.
More than 1,200 athletes participated in the games.
The younger residents weren’t the only ones to come home decorated. Kimberly, 50, and Eileen, 54, both participated in track and field events.
They spent more than three months practicing, gaining the skills necessary to bring home the win.
“We both love to train. We love what we do,” Eileen said. “We train hard for our games so we don’t hurt ourselves.”
Jennifer Johnson, Stewart Home School’s Special Olympics coordinator and fitness assistant, says the games are a favorite among the residents. She said all of their hard work is worth seeing the athletes’ smiling faces in the end.
“This is what sports are about,” Jennifer Johnson said. “It doesn’t matter if they get first or last, they give it their all “It’s an experience of a lifetime.”
And it wasn’t just the events, participants said. Their excitement extends to everything from the food and hotel to the dance celebration at the end of the competition.
They reserved their greatest enthusiasm for one another.
“I’ve got great friends to play with, and they’re fine players,” Will said.
Eileen said it was important to her to let the others know that she was there supporting them.
“Help you’re teammates out. Cheer your friends on. That’s what sportsmanship is,” she said.
Though they all face physical or mental struggles, their positive attitudes inspire those around them.
“Never give up,” Kimberly said. “Just keep trying and don’t get discouraged.”
A related article on the Kentucky Special Olympics Torch Run & Stewart Home School can be found here:
Fort Campbell Courier