By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
James Duty of Muskogee may be 38, but physically he’s younger.
“His doctor said he has the body of a 28 year old,” said Derrick Reed, who has coached Duty for 10 years.
Duty is a participant in the Special Olympics Summer Games, competing in bowling, walking, softball toss and basketball. The Muskogee Olympian started participating in Special Olympics more than 20 years ago as a runner.
“I had to retire,” Duty said. “I ran too fast and hurt my knee.”
Duty said he has made a lot of friends competing in Special Olympics.
“There’s people who came up to me that I haven’t seen in 20 years and remember when I used to run,” Duty said.
Reed said Duty participates in a weekly bowling league and several competitions throughout the year.
“We start in November and practice until about two weeks ago,” Reed said. “We put on an area meet the last week of September every year. We go to the winter games in Oklahoma City. (Duty) likes to bowl every week.”
Duty said he enjoys bowling and tries to score high.
“I like to win and compete,” he said.
Thursday, Duty finished third in his lane and liked how he bowled.
“I think I did a good job and enjoyed competing,” Duty said.
Duty’s highest score was 160. Reed said Duty puts a lot of effort into bowling and enjoys being around him.
“He’s a great guy and a hard worker,” Reed said. “He holds down a job, works five to six days a week at Arby’s. He loves his sports and his Thunder.”
Along with athletics, Duty works at Arby’s in Muskogee, which is a job he enjoys.
“I wipe the tables off, mop the floors, sweep and take the trash out,” Duty said. “I do the dirty work but I’m good at it. I get a check.”
On the basketball court, Duty said he is an outside shooter, taking after his favorite basketball player, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I like shooting the 3,” Duty said. “I like to score.”
“He has a goal at his house,” Reed said. “He plays all the time.”
Duty was born with mild retardation but Reed said you can’t tell.
“That’s it,” Reed said. “Physically he is fine.”
Though Duty may work at a fast food restaurant, it’s not his favorite food.
“He doesn’t like fried food,” Reed said. “He doesn’t like soda.”
Duty said he tries to live healthy.
“I like water and juice,” he said.