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Family Makes the Special Olympics Even More Significant for BoyceDate: 06/26/2018
The 2018 Special Olympics USA games in Seattle will be a family affair for Melissa Boyce.
“My sons and I received our notice letters – that we’re coaching at the games – on the same day. It was awesome sharing the achievement together,” Boyce said. “For me, it was hugs and tears. My boys were a tad more laid back. My sons are 17 and 18, and they’re too cool to get emotional. But for me, man I was crying tears of joy!”
Boyce is not only an assistant coach for the Arkansas Special Olympics soccer team, she’s also a staff member at the Conway Human Development Center in the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities Services.
She’s been a part of previous USA games. But this is her first experience with soccer. She’s not an expert, but just like the athletes, she’s working hard to learn the sport.
“I’ve gotten out the soccer rulebook, and I’m doing a lot of reading, and learning,” Boyce said.
“But I’ve realized, just getting out there on the field and playing with the athletes, running around with them, that’s the best teacher. Reading is one thing, actually getting out there and doing it is another.”
Boyce is looking forward to helping Team Arkansas go for gold at the games. But she’s most excited about seeing the reaction of the athletes competing on a national stage.
“The unity between everybody is unreal. People are in a good mood talking with one another, being very nice. It’s a feeling I haven’t experienced anywhere else,” she said.
“My goal is to be the best assistant that I can be. Helping an athlete do something they’ve never been able to do before, it always brings tears to my eyes.”
The number on the scoreboard isn’t how Boyce will measure Team Arkansas's performance at the USA Special Olympics Games. The overall experience for these athletes – that’s the real victory.