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Special Olympics games are worthy of the hoopla

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Updated: April 21, 2014 6:51PM



What heart-pounding games!

The Hoosiers and the Magic were tied — until a shot by Andrew at the buzzer of the first half put the Hoosiers ahead for good. They went on to win by eight points.

Then there was the final game for the Crusaders, and they came away with the championship to earn their way to the state finals. Not to be outdone, the Pacers made it to the final game before bowing out to the Wizards.

Nope, these weren’t NCAA or NBA games, but they were just as exciting and loud. They were the games played at Valparaiso University on Saturday to determine which teams would be going to the men’s state finals this weekend at Indiana State University.

If you think that these athletes are any less “up” for their games, or any less fun to watch, you would be wrong. Good luck to all of our Porter County teams and coaches who made it to the state tourney.

I must admit, my heart pounds just as hard for our Special Olympics teams as it does when I watch VU or my other favorite college teams.

While I’m on one of my favorite subjects, I have a new person on a pedestal this year. Lisa Jengen is the first ever Super Plunger from our whole area, which encompasses our Porter County, as well as Lake, St. Joe, Marshall, Starke and LaPorte counties.

To be “Super” for the Special Olympics, Lisa had to raise at least $4,000 and plunge in at least two Polar Plunges held in the state.

One thing for sure, Lisa: You can’t move out of Porter County. We need you. Thank you so much for being so super. You are my pet person of the week for making things warm and toasty for our athletes.

***

If you have never been to a performance at the Memorial Opera House in Valpo, I would suggest that you check out the musicals and plays that will be coming this season.

We have always been more than delighted with every bit of entertainment.

But just as our bodies show wear and tear, so do buildings. It is a beautiful ornate building that is much in need of repair, just to keep it safe. The plea is out for the community and businesses to please help raise $100,000 to maintain this lovely lady.

Michelle Smith, the opera house business director, said the budget has been cut to the bare bones, and she is hoping all of us will help make up the necessary revenue so that they can continue to bring us quality performances.

***

Next week is spring break for most of the schools in our area, and lots of students will be looking forward to neat places to go and fun things to do.

That is, unless they are part of an academic team, musical group or sports team. Then they will be practicing and practicing to be the best they can be. Or they may be a part of Valpo High’s Hope Club or Key Club, and spending this week making a difference in the lives of their peers with special needs by bringing awareness of eliminating the “R” word (retarded) from everyone’s vocabulary, and doing it by having other students sign a banner promising to keep it out of their mouths, and selling T-shirts and bracelets to raise money for Special Olympics.

(Thanks to Katie, Holly, Nikki and Kennedy for their help in making special-needs kids feel special.)

So when you start pointing fingers at the teens in your neighborhood, point them at the 98 percent of super kids who continue to better themselves and make their families proud.

Thanks for reading. Fly your flag.



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