If you are looking for the perfect why we love sports moment, this is it. It’s Ethan Fulk competing in an inspiring 800-meter run without running at all.
Born with spinal bifida, Fulk is propelling his wheelchair forward, running his glove-covered hands over the wheels as he makes his way around the track on a Saturday afternoon in Pensacola.
His teammates on the Navarre track team are walking behind him, clapping and providing words of encouragement. A few of them pull out their cell phones to record the memorable moment.
Athletes from other teams competing at the Wildcat-Raider Invitational Saturday in Pensacola soon join in on the two-lap journey around the track at Washington High School while the public address announcer calls for the spectators to stand and cheer before blaring upbeat music over the speakers.
Sometimes the greatness of sports goes beyond the scoreboard or the time on the stopwatch. Fulk is taking that greatness to another level.
The freshman is the first adaptive track athlete Navarre has ever had in its program’s history. In fact, he’s the only one in Northwest Florida.
His situation is unique and inspirational as he proves with the determination of a star athlete that a handicap isn’t a roadblock to athletic success.
Fulk, who competes in the 200 and shot put as well, is enjoying every minute of the experience.
“I like it,” Fulk said. “There have been sometimes where I get frustrated sometimes with the shot put because it’s hard. But I like (track). I come to all of the practices on time. It’s a lot of fun.”
Read the full article in the March 2 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.