Special Olympics Florida

Special Olympics athlete from Pinellas County set to compete in summer games

Written by: Gabrielle Shirley, WFLA.com

“If you fall down, get back up and don’t let one thing be the crutch of your life.”  Jacob Sare is speaking from experience. “I was born with white lesions on my brain,” Jacob explained. “I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t do all sorts of stuff.”

His world changed when the Sare family adopted him at the age of 6. The couple brought him out of foster care and into their home.

“He was stooped over and it was not physical,” his mother Diane said. “It was more of a learned behavior. His dad, every single day for a year, ran up and down the sidewalk in front of our house and pushed on his shoulder blades and said, ‘Stand up straight! Run with me!’ and that is what they did.”

Jacob, with the support of his new family, eventually found his confidence in athletics.   “All of a sudden, it was like he woke up and said, ‘Ohh! Wait a minute! I can do it!’” Diane said.

His attitude helped him to succeed in many different sports, including bocce.  “He said, ‘I would like to play bocce,’” Diane recalled. “And I looked at him and I said, ‘Do you know how to play bocce?’”  Jacob tells us he knows how to play the game of bocce and how to teach the game of bocce.  “If you hit the white ball, you say, ‘Bocce!’” Jacob said. 

Unfortunately, I never got to say that special word because I was not particularly skilled at the game. Jacob crushed me. As he put it, it was because I “threw too hard.” I thought I might be too strong. Jacob disagrees with me. It is a touch game and, as he showed us, he has the magic touch. He will need it on Friday when he competes in the Special Olympics State Summer Games.

“For anyone with an intellectual disability, we are always going to have our ups and downs,” he said. “But all in all, we don’t look at what we have. We look at it as an opportunity to show that we can overcome it and do a lot of good in this world.”

I should also mention that he is partnering with his girlfriend in the competition. The two of them met through Special Olympics.

“Hopefully we don’t have to play against each other,” Jacob told us with a laugh. “Because we know who is going to win!”