Special Olympics of Illinois Comes to Decatur

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Mark Porter has been an umpire at the Special Olympics in Illinois for more than 25 years.  It's a sports competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

"They get a hit. Its incredible,” said Porter.  “They think they've won the world series.  They make a great play.  Their whole team congratulates them.  It's great."

Mark says he does this every year to give back to a community.

"They give us joy and light.  You never hear a negative word out of them.  You never hear a 'no.' they're just positive all the time."

Organizers say Special Olympics Illinois uses sports to help diminish the isolation and intolerance that people with disabilities face.

"They try harder than the normal person would,” said Porter.  “And it's incredible.”

Steven Harris coaches a team that has come all the way from the northern suburbs of Chicago.

"Just watching the smiles of all the players,” said Harris.  “I have to tell you, when I get in my car, on the way home, I'm feeling like I've done something good.”

The winning team in each division takes home a trophy, gold medals, and of course, bragging rights, being the best in the state of Illinois.

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