OWEGO (WBNG) — "I never give up," and that attitude is one of the many reasons why Owego’s Jared Lamb will run in the 2018 Special Olympics Games this weekend in Seattle, WA.
The 16-year-old will be one of 53 New York athletes to compete.
"I’m going to try my best," emphasized Lamb, who has faced hurdles, both on and off the track he competes on. The Owego native was born with severe autism, and didn’t speak until he was four-years-old.
It’s hard for him everyday, he has so many struggles that he works through," said Jared’s mother, Julie Lamb. "But he doesn’t give up."
The proud mother was concerned when she learned he wanted to play sports.
"He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t think he has a disability," said Julie Lamb. "It was hard to figure out where he was going to be and where he was going to go in life and when he told me he wanted to play sports at Tioga Central and for the Special Olympics, at first I said no you can’t," said Lamb. "He persued it and kept telling me, and I called the school and athletic director and they were all for it."
Jared Lamb done it all, "Football, wrestling, track, baseball, hockey, basketball, volleyball, floor hockey, skiing," he said.
When he was 12, one of his teachers brought up the idea of going to New York City to participate in the Special Olympics. His family was concerned, since he had never away from home, but they allowed him to go through with the experience. From that he would go on to win many medals in the various sports that he plays.
Two weeks ago he competed in the New York Special Olympics. After he competes in Seattle, he will fly 17 hours in March to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, to be one of only a handful of New Yorker’s to participate in the International Special Olympics!
"I’m going to try my best," said Jared Lamb.
The teen’s favorite athlete is Joe Namath and enjoys cheering for the New York Mets and the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Lamb said he was inspired to play sports by watching the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL games, never letting his disability get in his way.
"The moment you quit is the moment you lose," said Jared Lamb.
"I get emotional when I watch Jared, he amazes me more and more everyday," said Julie Lamb. "He works so hard and cares so much about everything and everyone."
While Julie Lamb is proud of all of her children, she said Jared, her youngest, has unique traits that she "wouldn’t trade for the world."
"There’s days that I look back and I never thought he would be where he is today. I knew I was going to try, but I didn’t know how it was going to go," said Julie Lamb, who has advice for other parents that are in a similar situation that she is.
"I would encourage all parents that have a child who has special needs to never give up, always push them. Know their limits, but push them hard and it’s so worth it." We had to really push Jared, but it’s so worth it in the long run."
Worth it in the long run, especially for the teen who loves to run.