By John R. Anderson
Auburn has become a familiar home to the Massachusetts Special Olympics, and games were hosted on March 12th and 13th this year. Between the basketball courts in the Arthur M. Pappas Gymnasium at Auburn High School and the bowling lanes at AMF on Southbridge Street, hundreds of special athletes had a chance to compete and take home medals.
Representative Paul Frost typically does the Special Olympic Oath, but he was coaching a basketball game for his daughters, so Selectman Vice-Chair Doreen Goodrich took over. Mike Perkins from Norton took center stage as the rest of the athletes stood. Mike is on the South Norfolk Eagles Basketball Team and is known as “Baby Gronk” by his teammates.
During the week, Mike works at the Pooch Hotel in Newton, but on this weekend, he was all basketball. He said most of his fellow players wouldn’t come up to be singled out with the Oath. For Mike, however, this was not a big deal. After all, he sang the National Anthem at the Boston Garden about five years ago. Auburn just can’t compete with that.
Between the games, the vendor tables, and a fabulous lunch provided by the Auburn/Webster Elks, the corridors at AHS were buzzing. And, none of this would have been possible without Auburn’s Director of Recreation and Culture Kristen Pappas. A great job by all those involved, and a great way to let some special athletes shine!