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Diaz Ready to Experience Special Olympics USA GamesDate: 06/25/2018
Typically, Julio Diaz isn’t an emotional type of guy.
But receiving word that he’ll be a unified softball partner for Team Arkansas at the Special Olympics USA Games, cracked Diaz’s strong streak.
“When the person called to let me know, I was like, who is this? Who’s playing a joke on me?” he said. “At first I couldn’t believe it. But then I thought about how the selection committee actually wanted me to be part of the coaching staff for Team Arkansas. I’m still feeling all kinds of good inside.”
“After that call, I laughed. I even cried a little bit. I told my mom that I got selected and she thought I was playing. I had to convince her that I was serious,” Diaz said. “My brother, who’s been in past Special Olympics as one of the athletes, then said he has to hurry and find his good pants to wear at the games. I couldn’t do anything but laugh. I wish my dad were alive to experience it. He’d be tickled pink.”
As a unified partner, Diaz will be on the field, competing alongside the athletes, pointing them in the right direction. He’s an ideal person for that duty.
Diaz is part of the quality assurance staff for the Jonesboro Human Development Center. The Special Olympics are important to him because for years his family has bonded over sports and helping people with disabilities. Even before he was an employee at the center, he volunteered at the state Special Olympics.
“I’m on cloud nine. I’m taking my mother and brother to Seattle with me, so they’re excited, too,” he said. “I know I’m making my family proud by serving others.”
Diaz wants to make the most of his first-ever Special Olympics USA games.
“I want to win. But as long as we have fun, I’ll be fine,” Diaz said. “It will be awesome to help the athletes see something new. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I can’t wait for it to start!”