Special Olympics Pennsylvania #50for50: David Miller

#50for50: Volume 48
▪️ David Miller
▪️ 35 years old
▪️ Montgomery County

“I’ve been with Special Olympics since 2014. I used to live in New York for a while and I saw my friends did it. I moved back home and I was looking for a team, so I Googled ‘Special Olympics Pennsylvania’ and that’s how I found out. And then I emailed coach Scott [Otterbein]. Then the next week I was off to practice. It was that quick. I was not in shape for it all, so it was hard at first. … I was living in White Plains, New York to go to school. It was a vocational program, a three-year program. It was cool. It was fun. I learned stuff like how to live on my own and a lot of things. But I was born in Philly. My friend asked me why I didn’t join [Special Olympics] sooner? But I didn’t know about it. If I knew, I would have done it a long time ago. I was watching old YouTube highlights from the past 50 years and I was like, ‘damn, that’s really interesting.’ … I was somewhat athletic growing up. I wasn’t in great shape, even though I did it. Track and field was my first sport. It was tough at first. It was tough running and also tough changing my diet. I was eating junk food. A lot of junk food. And I got sick with a stomach thing, stomach problems. It was 3 a.m., I went to bed and then at 6 in the morning I knew I was in trouble. It was like four days in the hospital. The doctor came in and knew why it was happening and that kind of got my attention real quick. It was a blockage. I was sick as a kid. I had all these surgeries and all this scar tissue was building up inside my intestines. I didn’t even notice it. And if they do surgery, it would cause more scar tissue and cause more problems. So I went home and threw a lot of things out. It was kind of eye opening. … I like talking to people. That’s why I do what I do [and teach people about healthy habits]. There were some people who I don’t really know personally, but I could tell they were eating bad or they were drinking too much soda. But I think I got their attention. I eat lots of fruits, lots of vegetables. I definitely drink lots of water. I eat lots of multigrain bread, ham and cheese. It’s so much different. I really feel better. I feel much lighter. Now I’m finally healthy. I still struggle sometimes because I have tendonitis, but before that I was in the zone. … I also play basketball and one day I want to do flag football. My favorite memory was carrying the torch for the first time ever. It was my first year down in Philly and I carried the torch for Villanova. They were like, ‘oh, here ya go,’ and here’s the torch out of nowhere. I didn’t expect it. I almost dropped it, it was so heavy. It was great. … I work at Villanova’s dining hall Monday through Friday and on Sundays I work at Wawa. With ‘Nova on break for COVID, now I’m at Wawa more. At first, [the pandemic] was frustrating because I felt really good coming into the new year and then this happened. It’s disappointing ’cause I was ready to go. But I’ve been running at home, doing yoga and workouts from home. We text a lot, we talk a lot, my team, to see how everyone is doing. I’m itching to get back to next season. It’s gonna be great when we get back and we’re allowed to hug. I’m just looking forward to seeing all my people again.”

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Special Olympics Pennsylvania

The mission of Special Olympics Pennsylvania is to provide year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community.

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