Endeavor Games Inspirational, Heroic

Sunday, June 14th 2009, 12:35 am
By: News 9

By Toby Rowland, NEWS 9

EDMOND, Oklahoma -- It is a scene that both inspires and breaks your heart. Athletes of all ages, from across the country have come to Edmond to compete in the Endeavor Games, a multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities.

There are winners, but there are no losers. Some were born without tibias. Some are veterans of war. Some are victims of degenerative diseases, but all are heroes. All have decided that they will not be limited by what they cannot do.

"Our first year we had 117 sports participants. This year we're looking at close to 400 sports participants. We're really excited about the growth of the event," said UCO Athletic Services Coordinator Shelly Ramsey.

"These little kids, they need to know that life is cherishable and you can still do anything in life that you want to do," said Paralympic World Record Holder Jim Bob Bizzell. "If you want to be an athlete just pursue it and it will come true."

Sportscaster Toby Rowland had the honor to be asked to serve as the guide runner Saturday for a 66-year-old caller into his radio show who hasn't let his blindness slow him down one bit.

Benny Meier has travelled to Taiwan as a member of the U.S. beep ball team, has been a power lifter, a bowler, runs marathons and is a regular at the Endeavor Games. In fact, Benny is in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. A legend, who on this day was tethered to a beefy sportscaster.
In the end, 4 races, 4 gold medals for Team Benny.

But on a day to celebrate guts and determination and overcoming the unfairness of life, there was a memorable moment in the last race of the day. Two amputee children were battling it out in the 200 meters, and Eli from North Carolina was first across the line. But when NEWS 9 was set to interview him about his victory, Eli noticed that his other young competitor was on the ground crying.

"Hey, you did good. You did good," Eli Hager said to his fellow athlete. "It's okay. There's going to be next year. Who knows, I might get fat next year and you might win."

The thrill of victory and nothing else.

More on News9.com:

Endeavor Games Kick Off, Athletes Ready