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Mets Clinic For Champions, Special Olympics Florida

Stuart News - 2/27/2017

"Let's go, Mets, Let's go, Mets!"

It was the chant that echoed through Port St. Lucie's Tradition Field as nearly 100 athletes from Special Olympics Florida- St. Lucie County recently gathered for the 2nd Annual New York Mets Spring Clinic for Champions. Sunny skies and reasonable temps clinched a perfect day for ball playing as Major Leaguers worked with special needs competitors, helping them hone their techniques while encouraging them to swing for the stars.

The day's roster included athletes aged 8 and up who rotated between batting, fielding, throwing and catching. Skills and drills were led by more than 20 Mets players and coaches. As an extra-added bonus, athletes and their family members/caregivers were greeted and treated to a pre-training photo-op by team captain/3rd Baseman David Wright and right fielder Curtis Granderson.

Members of the Mets staff, both New York and St. Lucie, were patient, gracious and "AMAZIN'" hosts! senior director of External Affairs and Communications for the NY Mets, Danielle Parillo, said that the operation was a collective idea, but credited St. Lucie Mets' Community Relations manager Kasey Blair as the brains behind the collaboration.

Special Olympian Malcolm Harris-Gowdie, who also spends time as a sports broadcaster, was thrilled to participate in the day's activities.

"I love sharing in this will all my friends," he said. "We are all special, strong and courageous; plus, we all have unique abilities."

To Malcolm, failure is a success if you learn from it.

Paul Tripaldi, Special Olympics Florida director for Indian River and St. Lucie counties, offered this food for thought:

"What these professionals are giving of themselves to our athletes is a tremendous example of great sportsmanship. Think about their focus as they head into the season- they're just getting started and they stop right in the middle of it all just to be with us, it's pretty incredible!"

The extraordinary afternoon of training wrapped up with a barbecue that featured tasty ballpark fare.

 
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