Robin Callaway- SONC Athlete of the Month – September 2013

callaway close up1To say Special Olympics is a big part of Robin Callaway’s life is an understatement with a capital “U”.  Special Olympics is bigger than big for the 27 year-old Charlotte athlete.

“The impact Special Olympics has had on Robin’s life is huge,” said her mother, Nancy Callaway. “All of her friends, both athletes and non-athletes, they all are people she’s met through her participation.  And Special Olympics has given her a incredible amount of self confidence.  You can see it in the way she carries herself.  I think it comes from the success she’s had on the playing field.  Special Olympics is just an integral part of our lives, both hers and mine.”

Robin didn’t get introduced to Special Olympics until she entered high school in 1999 but she’d always been athletic.  She enjoys sports and now competes in tennis, basketball, softball, flag football, and bowling.  Tennis is her favorite sport.  In three short years, she has learned the fundamentals of the game and risen to match play competition at the state-level.

“You can never tell if she’s won a fourth place ribbon or the gold medal,” said her mom.  “She gives it her all but is proud no matter the outcome.”

She and her doubles partner, Greyson Riehm of Charlotte, were the lucky recipients of free tennis lessons via a private donation made to the Jewish Community Center in Charlotte.  The club pro Greg O’Connor has taught them strategies to use and how to better position themselves on the court when playing doubles.  O’Connor was so taken by the pair; he’s offered to continue the lessons this fall.   Robin and Grayson can’t wait to use their new found knowledge and skills in the fall tennis qualifier and then the SONC Fall Tournament.

Robin isn’t just an athlete, she’s also an ambassador for Special Olympics serving as a Global Messenger and she regularly volunteers for the organization.  She helps out at the Special Olympics Mecklenburg County office, sorting T-shirts, filing medical forms and making photo copies.  She’s always willing to help and all is done with a pleasant smile on her face.  As active as she is within Special Olympics, she also works two paying jobs, one at Bonefish Grill and the other at Harris Teeter.

“Robin’s smile and her genuine upbeat attitude towards life are my favorite things about her,” said Greg Morrill, Special Olympics Mecklenburg County director.  “She’s a great mentor to other athletes.  She really is a leader in the Special Olympics movement here in Charlotte.”

callawy shriver welcomeRecently, Special Olympics Inc. Chairman Dr. Tim Shriver flew into Charlotte to speak to Special Olympics leaders at the Special Olympics North America Conference.  Morrill tapped Robin to head up a welcoming committee to greet Dr. Shriver at the airport.  She coordinated the sign-making, and decorated many of the signs herself.  She was quite excited for the opportunity to meet him!  The experience, while brief, was still one of the most memorable things she’s done in Special Olympics!

“She was in awe,” said her mom.  “She shook his hand and personally welcomed him to Charlotte.  I know she wished she could have told him how much Special Olympics meant to her but just to meet him was amazing.”

The Callaways couldn’t be more proud of their daughter and all she’s accomplished.  She even treated them for their 30th anniversary in August to a fancy dinner at the Bonefish Grill!  This month her parents and two younger brothers will be celebrating Robin –the 2013 Special Olympics North Carolina September Athlete of the Month!

“I’m always about to burst when I talk about Robin,” said her mom. “She couldn’t have turned out any better.  We are so proud!”

Congratulations Robin!

Color - Yellow
Ice Cream - Vanilla
TV Show - The Tennis Channel and cheers for any US tennis player
Food – Bang-Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill