Parasiliti: Torch burns brightly for kids like Adam Barnhart
North Hagerstown bocce athletes Adam Barnhart, seated, and Trey King carried the opening ceremony torch to officially start the tournament at HCC. (Submitted photo / February 17, 2013)
Unfortunately, you won’t get the chance to read how Adam ran for the winning touchdown, touched them all after hitting a home run or even used a feathery touch to drain a winning basket.
Adam is confined to a wheelchair and never has had the chance to make those kinds of sports memories.
You will never see Adam quoted in story, because he doesn’t speak.
And yet, Adam has a touch that most everyone wishes they possessed.
He has an ability to stir emotion, make people think and create fans.
Adam is one of Maryland’s special needs children who gets a chance to compete in the state’s unified sports programs, which allows like students an opportunity to compete for their schools on varsity level of competition.
On Thursday, Adam and his North Hagerstown teammates were part of a Western Maryland contingent who vied for one of five state championships in bocce at Hagerstown Community College’s athletic complex.
On this day, Adam became an impact player.
He had an amazing day. One that many will remember for a long time, and it was before the competition started.
Adam and his teammate Trey King, a North Hagerstown football player, were selected to be the torchbearers for the opening ceremonies of the third annual event.
With all the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics, Adam — with the help of Trey — rolled down the straightaway of HCC’s indoor track. They signified the start for every one of the athletes, who sat in the stands waiting for their chance to play.
The chance to participate.
The chance to compete.
The chance to do something special and memorable.
And all the while, it stirred a number of feelings. The ones that come with being able to play.
“I love to see the joy this brings them,” said King, who had some of his own joy as part of North’s playoff team last football season. “This is their time to shine.”
King was more than willing to step into the supporting cast. He was the Robin to Adam’s Batman as all eyes were trained on them, but really following Adam.
“He likes to get that smile on his face,” King said. “I asked him if he wanted to look at the crowd — if he wanted me to turn him around so he could wave. He did.”