At Immokalee High School, the practice field is where the Special Olympics flag football team comes together to play hard, no matter what.
“One is hearing impaired,” the team’s coach Kate Doyle explained. “So he often has an interpreter out there at practice and the players are used to helping him now get in the right position. And different signs for different routes to run. I have a visually impaired player who is an amazing runner. We can’t throw him long passes he can’t see the ball but he’s good for a handoff.”
Doyle’s team is all made up of exceptional students. Their work on the field has paid off. They went up to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney world. Not for a vacation, but to win the Special Olympics Florida Unified Senior Level Division 3 State Championship.
“We were jumping bro,” Eduardo Pablo said. “Bro, I just jumped out of the bleachers and I was laying out like a bear.”
“Coming out with gold medals as champions that’s a life time memory I feel. For me it is.” Doyle said laughing.
And they’re not done yet. The Indians will return to Orlando for the Unified Champion Schools FHSAA State Championship.
“I know we’re going to win,” Pablo said. “I’ll keep dreaming we’re going to win.”
Regardless of the score, this group is already a winner.
“They belong and that they have talent and that they have worth,” Doyle said holding back tears. “I don’t know what else to say. They’re just great. It’s a brotherhood.”