It was cool brisk Saturday morning. Sand had already seeped into my shoes as I walked between the registration table and starting line taking in the view.
The course was set, volunteers prepared and contestants ready to compete. Excitement penetrated the air as it does when it’s a race morning at the Peninsula.
Ryan was ready. He had spoken about the event for weeks and the day had finally arrived. We were minutes from starting, Ryan was at the line, when he turned to me and smiled. A wave of joy washed over me. He was excited and proud. As I looked around at all the contestants, their family, friends, and aides I saw more smiles, heard laughter and positive encouragers such as “You can do this!” “Way to go!”
The cheers were similar to races, but this was unlike any other event. It was an adaptive extreme obstacle course; a first for Erie, Ryan and many contestants.
Similar to the mission of the Special Olympics and the Little League’s Challenger Division, the Barber Beast on the Bay Adaptive Obstacle Course gave children and adults with disabilities an opportunity to compete in an extreme obstacle course. The event was a celebration of achievement. As the day unfolded and contestants ran through sand, made their way across bridges and down slides into pools of water, I was reminded that you can do anything with a willing spirit and a little encouragement.
You start with the word ‘can.’
Be open-minded. With self-confidence and courage you can do anything you want. No matter what it is, you can overcome that obstacle (even with sand in your shoes). You may not do things like everyone else, but you can achieve your dreams.
Check out the photos by R. Frank Photography for a glimpse of the day!