COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
COVID-19 has changed how society does a lot of things, but especially sports.
Special Olympics Missouri has not been immune to the changes. The organization had to cancel the majority of its contact sports, starting in March.
"Everything since then has been canceled. They keep saying 'we'll let you know, we'll let you know.' Then they send out an email saying 'sorry, we're not doing track, we're not doing softball,'" said Sue Wilson, a local parent.
Wilson's sons compete in the Special Olympics Missouri softball league just about every year with their group of friends.
But this year, the group had to get a little creative with how they spent their time.
"They can't function without them, you know, they are so used to being around them," Wilson said.
Wilson said she and a group of parents came up with a simple idea: sports in the park.
"We thought it was just a really important thing to do and everybody was on board," she said. "They've been a really tight-knit group for a really long time and they were all, of course, wanting to do this."
Every Friday evening around 6:00 P.M. the group heads to a local park and plays just about every sport.
"When we knew we could get out here and play every Friday, it was like hey, okay. It's okay, let's just move on and play football and whatever," one of the boys said.
Jeanine Moyer, a parent, said this group is a lot more than just friends playing a game of football. It's about family.
"Before my son got hooked up with this group of great guys, he hadn't been invited to a birthday party until he was in his 20s," she said. "They've all become really good friends and it's been great for him."
Sure, they are all big sports fans.
"I love throwing it deep, like Patrick Mahomes," one of the boys said.
But, the group is also one big family: parents and kids alike.