Pair teaches skating to special athletes

September 10, 1992|By Amy P. Ingram | Amy P. Ingram,Contributing Writer

Because of the dedication of "roller-obsessed" couple Carroll and Doris Brown, four D.C. Special Olympic athletes roller-skated their hearts out at the National Special Olympics last year in Richmond, Va.

Now Mrs. Brown, 63, looks forward to sending more athletes, as she and Mr. Brown teach another group roller skating.

"It's so fun and rewarding," she said. "You can't help but get attached to the children."

Beginning Sept. 22, the Hanover couple will volunteer their skating knowledge to the eight-week roller skating session designed specifically for persons with mental handicaps within the Washington area.

Sponsored by the D.C. Special Olympics in conjunction with the Seabrook Wheel-A-While Rolling Skating Center, children and adults will learn such skills as lacing skates properly and speed racing.

Although considered amateur skaters, Mr. and Mrs. Brown have skated competitively for over 16 years.

Last year, the couple placed fourth in the region for Master's Dancing, dance skating for mature people. A year earlier, they had placed 21st in the nation's Best Masters Dancing skating competition.

Mr. Brown, 67, admits skating has been a lifelong obsession. "Once you get skating in your blood," he said, "you just can't stop."

He hopes he can bring the same feeling to the Special Olympic athletes.

"In the beginning it's chaotic," said Mr. Brown, "but by the end, those kids are really whipping around."

After completing weeks of training, the races begin. Athletes participate in the 30-meter, 100-meter, 300-meter, 500-meter or relay.

Winners who place high are then considered for the Nationals or internationals.

Margie Bargmann, roller skating director for the D.C. Special Olympics at Seabrook and a professional skating teacher, appreciates the Browns' help.

"They're good teachers," she said. "Mr. Brown has a real good ability of controlling the athletes. He gets their respect."

Ken Lucas agrees. As assistant director of Sports and Coaches Education of D.C. Special Olympics, he's worked with the Browns for three years.

He says their help contributed greatly to the program's success.

"The program has progressed to a higher level, due mainly to the volunteers," he said. "The skating volunteers we have work directly with the athletes and end up doing most of the one-on-one work."

Mr. Lucas said most of the skaters are able to do laps at the end of the eight weeks.

The Browns skate not only because they enjoy it, but because of the health benefits.

"It's very, very healthful," said Mrs. Brown. "It's good for the cardiovascular system and muscle tone. I've got legs like rock."

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