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For Smith, Coaching at the USA Games is a Dream Come TrueDate: 06/28/2018
It has been a dream delayed, not a dream denied.
Larry Smith, a 17-year employee of the Southeast Arkansas Human Development Center (SEAHDC), will coach for the Arkansas track and field team at the upcoming Special Olympics USA games in Seattle.
Smith hoped this opportunity would come eventually.
“When I got the call asking if I wanted to be a coach for Team Arkansas at the USA games, I answered loudly saying, ‘Without a doubt. I’d love to do it!’” Smith said. “I then immediately spoke with our superintendent about it, and he approved of me coaching. He also told me how I was the first person from our center to coach at the national games. That just added more emotion to the moment.”
A teacher assistant at the SEAHDC workshop, Smith views this opportunity as a reward for years of hard-work.
“Being selected to coach, it’s an amazing feeling. I’ve told family, friends, and coworkers that I don’t know how to describe how good I feel,” he said. “After I found out I got selected and I accepted the position, I thought back to two years ago to the disappointment and hurt of not getting picked. So I appreciate this opportunity even more because of that.”
To prepare for the games, the state’s athletes practice once a month in Conway.
“The times are improving as we get closer to the games,” he says. “We have a really good group of athletes representing Arkansas. They’re going to make everybody proud. My goal is to get up to Seattle and make sure they have a great time, that they perform well, and bring back the gold medal.”
“This is a dream of mine. And I definitely want to help this be a dreamlike, unforgettable opportunity for our athletes as we focus on helping them grow and experience a form of independence.”