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Payne Intends to Cherish Every Moment of the Special Olympics

Date: 06/28/2018

Lisa Payne does not dance often. So she can easily tell you the last time she cut-a-rug.

“When I found out I‘d be the coach of the Arkansas soccer team at the Special Olympics USA games in Seattle, I did a little happy dance,” she admitted. “I didn’t really jump … I just did a little happy wiggling around.”                                                        

For Payne, a housekeeper at the Conway Human Development Center, this is her second stint as soccer coach for Team Arkansas. A self-described “Soccer Mom”, Payne enjoys the level of competition that people are going to see.

“If you don’t know any better, a lot of time you can’t tell the difference between the athletes and our partners that help out. The action is nonstop,” she said. “The camaraderie between athletes and their partners is a sight to see. When they’re on the field you’ll see plenty of smiles, lots of laughter, and hand-shakes between everyone.”

Payne wants to make sure the the athletes’ time in Seattle is a worthwhile experience.

“The Special Olympics is another great opportunity for our athletes,” she said. “The games give our athletes a chance for growth and to do something they don’t normally do. This is all for them and their well-being.”                   

Payne wants team members to excel, and take advantage of what should be an amazing experience. This is their time to shine and bask in a moment few people get to participate in. 

“The stadium is crowded. When the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies, it gets to me every time. I can’t help myself,” Payne said. “It’s almost like I’m at the main Olympics. I get teary eyed each time the torch is lit.”

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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