By DAVID HUNTER
Most weeks I use this column to highlight sports played by able body athletes. However, I am honored to highlight a group of kids, who havethe same playing dreams as the athletes you see each week either inperson or on television.
Last Monday night, I had the pleasure to watch a group of kids learn how to pass and kick a soccer ball as part of a new group called F.U.N.
These kids sure do know how to have fun, which in this case stands for Friends with Unique Needs, and it was started by Ashley Skelton and her husband after their son, Maxx was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in March of 2015.
"It is for any special needs child in Cannon County, age 3-18," Skelton said via email last week. "We do a different activity each month to help keep them engaged and work on strengths and weaknesses particular to each child's needs in hopes that they might learn new things and make new friends that is the important part."
Last week, these kids learned how to score a goal or pass the ball like current CCHS soccer stars like the Walkup twins and Qwentin McMackins.
"We have since been introduced to a new, special world through Maxx's eyes, and we have seen that Maxx, and other special needs children needed more," Skeleton said. "We wanted those children to be on a ''team", receive trophies, make new friends and maybe get their picture in the paper. They deserve those things too.
However, it is one of many activities, F.U.N. has planned for this summer. Besides soccer, the members will learn how to swim, play music and ride horses or carriages. It was really cool to see these kids have fun, and putting a smile on their parents and volunteers faces.
As for the Skelton's like with a lot of the volunteers and coaches who spend time with the youth either in local leagues like Junior Pro basketball and football and Dixie Youth baseball, they enjoy seeing these kids no matter their situation having fun. That what it should be about.
"My heart could not get any fuller than on Monday nights at 5:30," Skeleton said. "To see them all so happy, in a setting, that usually is not so enjoyable for them gives me a feeling I cannot put into words. They have fun, in a new place with new people doing new things-that's hard for them. But they all enjoy it so much, as do all of their "Bigs" and volunteers who I could not do any of this without them."
For more information on F.U.N. check out their Facebook page @friendswithuniqueneeds/Facebook.