CORNER BROOK, N.L.
The move from Red Bay to Corner Brook has presented Byron Moores with the opportunity to compete in the 2019 Special Olympics NL Winter Games.
Moores has been selected as a member of the Corner Brook Viking’s 5-pin bowling team that will take part in the games to be held in Grand Falls-Windsor March 1-3.
Special Olympics athletes have an intellectual or developmental disability or a cognitive delay. Byron, 34, has Down syndrome.
Unlike most Special Olympics athletes who will be competing in the provincial games, Byron is new to his sport and to Special Olympics.
Byron moved from Red Bay to Corner Brook with his parents Alice and Gardner Moores in June.
Red Bay was a wonderful community to raise her family, Alice said.
“The community embraced Byron and he was very much a part of everything that went on. And very much a part of the Red Bay United Church,” she said.
Alice is a United Church minister. While her move from Red Bay to Corner Brook was work-related, one of Alice’s goals on relocating was to help her son get involved in more activities within the community. Special Olympics has provided that opportunity to Byron, she said.
“Byron enjoyed bowling a couple of times before when we came into Corner Brook to visit family,” she said. “So, when we moved in here, I got him signed up for (Special Olympics) bowling and he started attending every Monday night.”
Her son looks forward to his weekly bowling games, she said.
“He gets so excited if he gets a strike,” Alice said. “People have come up to me and said how Byron has such a sweet personality, that he draws people to him. He’s very approachable.”
While the family has only been living in Corner Brook about six months, Alice said Byron has already made friends thanks to Special Olympics.
“We see a big difference in Byron already. We go out to the mall or the store and there is always a coach or an athlete who will come up and say hello and ask him how he’s doing,” she said. “Then, on Saturday (Dec. 1) they had the Santa Claus Parade here in Corner Brook and the Special Olympics group was part of that.”
Alice and Gardner have two daughters. Colette and Laurie are both proud of their younger brother, Alice said.
Special Olympics is an opportunity for people with disabilities to focus on their abilities. The Special Olympics motto "Let me win. But, if I can't win, let me be brave in the attempt,” rings true when Special Olympics athletes participate in any sport – at any level. Their enthusiasm is not only for themselves. Special Olympics athletes can often be seen and heard encouraging others to do their best.
“Just to see (Bryon and his friends) having so much fun and encouraging each other has been an eye-opener for me as well as for Byron,” Alice said.
Byron has settled into life in Corner Brook with ease, his mother said.
“He’s content. He’s happy. He’s out and about. We took him to a movie the other night. He’s become a part of the community,” Alice said.
Byron has also been welcomed by members of the churches (Oakland United and Memorial United) in the area where his mother ministers and is now a big part of both congregations.
He also enjoys playing wresting games on his Play Station 4 and I’s the B’y on his accordion. He is now practicing Silent Night which he’ll play during Christmas church services.
Being selected as a member of the Corner Brook Vikings 5-pin Special Olympics team for the provincial games is great news for her son and the entire family, Alice said.
“Byron is loving every minute of Special Olympics. He was so excited the day that I got the call that he had been picked. There were hugs all around,” she said. “He’s gotten cards and lot of messages of congratulations. He’s so looking forward to going.”
Byron’s teammates on the 5-pin bowling team are Stephanie Cassell, Alicia Burke, Maggie Joseph and Richie Chow.