“It helps me concentrate on what I’m about to do. It helps me believe that I can do it,” explained Forrest.
That concentration was especially important during the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, held in Seattle July 1-6. Forrest competed in powerlifting, representing both his family and his state.
“I have really high expectations for myself. When I do something, I want to do it the best it can be done. I want to make my family proud.”
Forrest did just that while in Seattle, winning a gold medal in dead lift (his favorite lift) along with a bronze and two silver medals. As proud as he was of himself, stepping onto the awards podium was a bittersweet moment, as he couldn’t help but feel like someone was missing.
Forrest and his father, who passed away in June 2018, had always been close, spending lots of time together and sharing one great love: music.
“My dad was a great musician. He made jazz and blues music and passed that love onto me. I’ve followed in his footsteps a bit by creating my own songs; I even used to play with him on stage when I was younger.”
But for Forrest, music was not his perfect fit. That came on a different stage entirely.
“A friend got me into powerlifting about 10 years ago and I took to it immediately. In a way, it’s kind of like my dad’s world – everyone can see me. Just like him, I’m doing what I’m good at,” said Forrest.
That success led Forrest to the national stage, where he had his own fans, including his son, cheering for him.
“Being a dad makes me feel so happy. I’ve tried to share my love of music with him and we listen to my dad’s music together. I listen to it now more than ever, especially before competition.”
While his dad only saw him compete once, Forrest knows that his most recent competition would have been a highlight in his eyes.
“I believed in myself and just did my thing. I wish he had been here to see me. He would have been so proud of me and happy with how far I’ve come,” shared Forrest.
From the Triangle to the Pacific Northwest, Forrest has certainly come a long way. But no matter what stage he steps on to, he does it all for his dad.