Devin Paulus and his stepdad, Joe Tripp volunteered at the Special Olympics as part of their black belt project at Tiger Rock Martial Arts in Cary. This is what 11 year old, Devin had to say about their experience at the tournament.
The volleyball Special Olympics were held this year in N.C. State. Go Wolf pack! Anyways, when we got there we had to go to the end of the street in a reserved spot. That just proves there is going to be a lot of people there, and it felt like miles until we got there. We started for the door and we saw a huge gym about the size of three football fields.
The person at the desk asked us what our names were and she said we will be doing awards, awards start at 2:00 and we got there around 10 so we had a lot of time on our hands so we just watched some matches. I even got to line judge some! Around 12 we had lunch I had a sub, grapes, I think crackers, and horrible cookies.
At 1:30 we started to organize the medals, the ribbons were so much of a pain because it kept getting tangled, but the fun got better when we had to put the name of every person on the team on every, single, medal.
Around 2, we started to get the results of the matches. There were three divisions, Regulation, Modified, and community. Regulation is basically normal volleyball. Modified is when the net is lowered and you play with a bigger ball. Community is the same as Regulation but the people get help from their friends and family. The individual skills competition is basic skills like bumping, setting, and all that jazz.
I was the tray holder when Joe put the medal on the person’s neck, and carrying around that tray was easy, up to a point, around the 20 second mark, my arms felt like jelly I was about to pass out, but Joe kept me going and had me do a lot of exercise. Let me set something straight carrying that tray was way easier than holding it with only one arm. IT WAS, HORRIBLE. I was so mad every time one of the ribbons would get messed up, Joe had a great time putting medals on every body and he even got a hug or 2.
Even with all the bad parts, I still had a blast. This has taught me that anyone can do anything if they set their mind to it even if they have disabilities.