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Garrett Eager to See Athletes Have Fun at USA GamesDate: 06/28/2018
When asked about the Special Olympics USA games, Todd Garrett’s eyes got big as he described an atmosphere that’s second-to-none.
“You walk into a big stadium, and there are people lined up giving you high fives,” he said. “Then over the PA system, they’ll announce, Team Arkansas. You see all these people everywhere, and things seemingly go silent for a second as I usually get lost in the moment. Then out of nowhere you realize what it’s all about – and that’s the athletes.”
Garrett, a Conway Human Development Center rehabilitation instructor, will be a unified partner for Arkansas’s softball squad at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle. So he’ll be on the field, competing alongside the athletes and helping them make the right decisions.
The competitive nature of the games is also a sight to see.
“On a scale of 1 to 100, it’s a 100,” Garrett said of the competition and enthusiasm. “Seeing the laughter, the smiles, the sadness when a team loses – all of it makes you emotional. Most of us as coaches, we’re living life along with our athletes. We’re coaching hard, running, high-fiving, jumping around, and talking to our athletes.”
Garrett wants to help Team Arkansas win a softball gold medal. But there’s something else he’s also focused on.
“During the 8 days, I want to teach the athletes to always give maximum effort and do their best,” he said. “I want them to understand how and why to put their best foot forward – no matter what they do. I never forget that it’s all about the athletes and helping them grow and take full advantage of this experience.”