Pledging for Torch Run puts you on right side of karma

Pledging for Torch Run puts you on right side of karma

Most of us know what it is like to drive a bit over the speed limit.

Maybe you are in a rush to get to work. Maybe you are running late in getting your children to dance class.

You finally get around that slow driver who almost always finds his way in front of you when you are in a hurry, and you see a police car coming the other way.

That is when two thoughts go through your mind as you pump the breaks.

  1. Did I build up enough good karma so that the police officer is driving with the radar turned off?
  2. Is the police officer someone I know well enough that he or she might let me off with just a warning?

Those are two of the top three reasons why I will once again be running with some local officers in the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Montana Thursday.

It is always good to have karma and a friendly officer on your side, even if you drive 5 mph below the speed limit.

The No. 1 reason I am running, though, is Michael Lyons.

Michael is a Special Olympian. He is the 19-year-old son of Rick and Joanie Lyons.

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael again last Friday at a track meet at East Middle School. Michael was there to cheer on his younger brother Joseph, a freshman sprinter for Butte High.

Rick, who was inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame two years ago, introduced Michael to me in the early moments of the meet.

Michael was holding a lemonade so big that he needed to use two hands to hold on to it.

“Hi,” Michael said, looking at his refreshing drink. “I would give you a hug, but I have this.”

In retrospect, I wish I would have asked him to give the lemonade to his dad for a couple seconds because I really feel like I missed out on a great hug.

Remember the hug the little girl used to defrost Jack Frost at the end of The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause?

That kind of a hug.

Still, it warmed my heart so much to meet such a great young man, even if it was just briefly.

That Michael told me that he would have hugged me if it wasn’t for that lemonade made my whole weekend.

Moments like that are what make the Special Olympics so great.  The innocence and kindheartedness of the Special athletes are unmatched.

Michael and his fellow Special Olympians are the reason why you are hooked for life if you ever even slightly get involved with the Special Olympics.

Along with Torch Run organizer Eddi Walker’s iron fist, they are also the reason I will probably be part of the great event every year as long as my body can hold up.

If you poll the runners of the Torch Run, I will bet they will all share an experience similar to mine meeting Michael.

Every person who ever volunteered for the Special Olympics. Or bought a raffle ticket from a Special Olympian. Or just watched a Special Olympics event.

They will all tell you a similar story.

The Butte team is charged with running the Torch on I-90 from Three Forks to Butte. That includes a couple of huge hills that we will probably let Eddi run for us.

Eddi and I will be running along with Cole Conway, Melissa O’Dell, Michelle Knopf, Russ Robertson, Bill St. Pierre, Tim Berger, Kevin Maloughney, Steve Homer, Josh Sterns, Ryan Fallang, Chad Kriskovich, Bryce Foley, Ryan Hardy, Jessica Sayler, Richie O’Brien, Tammy Shea and Jessie Jette.

Last year I ran a 7-mile stretch, which was about a third of what Eddi ran. The group ran together with a large contingent of Special Olympians the final mile down Harrison Avenue to Clark Park for a barbecue.

Many of those Olympians will be competing in the Montana Summer Games later this month in Great Falls.

They will also compete this November when Butte hosts the Special Olympics Montana State Basketball Tournament. The tournament will be held in the Mining City for the next three years.

I will be there cheering on the Butte Eagles and the Butte Rats, along with every other team in the tournament.

If you have never watched the Special Olympics before, trust me, you will want to see this, too. The Special Olympics game of the annual Burgman/Boyle Classic is always the best part of the night. By far.

Every game will end with smiles from those on both sides. There will be no displays of poor sportsmanship. You will see true champions of character in every way.

The Torch Run is to help raise money to put on these games. It also is about raising awareness of the Special Olympics movement worldwide.

Since the Special Olympics came under attack from both major political parties recently, this movement is probably more important than ever.

The best part about the Torch Run is you can join the team without running. All you have to do is open up your checkbook. Every person who gives money — even if it is only a dollar — is part of the team.

Last week, the Butte team raised $7,691 in a bucket fundraiser on Harrison Avenue, so this year’s team is already a big one.

But it can be bigger. Much bigger.

To join the team, send a check made out to BPPA to the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department, 225 Alaska St., Butte, MT 59701.

If you would like to give to the Special Olympics more locally, the Butte Eagles are holding a fundraiser for their trip to Great Falls for the Summer Games Wednesday at Headframe Spirits.

Headframe Spirits will give $1 from every drink sold on Wednesday to the Eagles, and a group of the Special Olympians will greet fans from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Stop by and have a drink, meet a Special Olympian and make a donation to the best Butte has to offer.

Donating to the Special Olympics probably won’t get you out of a speeding ticket if you get pulled over. It might not even build up enough good karma for to block the radar.

So, it is always a good idea to always drive the speed limit, even when you are late for dance class.

But it does not hurt to cover all your bases by making a pledge and joining the team.

If you are lucky enough to meet Michael Lyons and tell him about your donation, it just might get you a hug.

Just as long as Michael isn’t holding a giant lemonade at the time.

— Bill Foley, who is not the slow driver blocking your rush to work, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.

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