Keith stood at the end of the long jump pit in the Redwood Area Community Center (RACC) fieldhouse Monday evening, preparing to jump.
As a severely mentally disabled Special Olympics athlete, making a two foot jump cost him just as much concentration and effort as it took the high school track athletes to jump 10 feet.
Finally, with the encouragement of fellow athletes standing nearby, Keith leaped into the sand.
Other athletes and coaches at the Special Olympics practice rushed forward to congratulate him. Then Keith continued his way around the eighth-mile indoor track, helped by his coach.
The southwest Minnesota Special Olympics will be returning to the RACC this Saturday,
This year’s event is being hosted by the Windom Lions Club. In the past, the Special Olympics meets were held in the home town of whichever organization hosted it.
However, events like this week’s May Day snowfall make Redwood’s indoor facility more practical for Special Olympics events from across the region.
According to organizers, up to 150 athletes are expected at Saturday’s meet. Special Olympics athletes from Redwood Falls, Marshall, Pipestone, Luverne, Windom, and Jackson will compete.
The first of nearly 100 volunteers will show up at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, with the opening ceremonies at 10 a.m.
Redwood Falls volunteers will include members of the RVHS track team while the FFA is contributing cookies and juice.
Everyone is invited to show up and show their encouragement.