Bond’s triumphs transcend sports
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 12:58 AM
Ashley Bond wears two bocce ball medals -- one silver, one bronze – from New Jersey’s recent Special Olympic USA Games.
Abbeville’s Ashley Bond shows her 26-year-old cousin, Amber Koerber, the two medals she won in the recent Special Olympic USA Games in New Jersey. She won bronze and silver.
(SCOTT CHANCEY | INDEX-JOURNAL)
Ask her to show them to you. She’ll be more than happy to do it.
“It was amazing,” Bond said. “I loved it.”
She’ll also show you the bracelets she made on her wrist.
And, how much she loves to slap a high-five. Whether it be one-handed or two-handed, it really doesn’t matter.
Each time Bond does it, she raises her hands as high as she can.
That’s only fitting since Bond has already risen above anyone else’s expectations.
Born in a car, Bond then needed two open-heart surgeries, along with speech and occupational therapy. She also has to wear hearing aids.
It could have been worse, though. In fact, Bond was told it should have been worse.
“She was told she’d never walk, talk, or jump, or do anything, and then she goes and does this in New Jersey,” said Bond’s sister, Chrystal. “You name it, and she can do it.”
Sure, Bond likes showing off her medals. But you can gather she’d rather slap you a high-five or a hug.
The Abbeville High School graduate would rather tell you about the “lady with a crown and a flashlight” (the Statue of Liberty) she saw on her Jersey trip.
There, no fellow athlete was Bond’s competitor.
Instead he or she was a friend.
And, just as Chrystal talked more about Ashley, Ashley went off to talk to more friends. And, possibly meet new ones at her medals celebration Thursday at Abbeville’s Village Grill.
“We call that her ‘politicking,’” Chrystal laughed as Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It is,” played over the restaurant’s speakers.
Now, don’t get Bond wrong. She loves to play sports. In fact, at the state Special Olympics, she placed first in three track-and-field events (softball throw, tennis-ball throw, 50-yard walk).
But Bond was selected to compete in the national games in bocce ball.
That was just fine with her mother, Gloria. Just being there was half the fun.
“Seeing her so happy and having fun, that’s what meant everything to me,” Gloria said. “It was a spotlight she really deserved.”
Whether Bond is in the spotlight or not, she continues to offer you a high five. Or, another look at her wristbands.
“Can I get a green-and-white one?” asked Michigan State University graduate and Abbeville Mayor Sarah Sherwood.
After Bond answered she would, Sherwood replied, “Thank you.”
“I think Ashley puts things in perspective,” Sherwood said. “Special people like Ashley make people stop and realize how simple life can be. It’s the truly simple things in life that we as adults forget every single day.”
A presence like Bond’s perhaps comes at a time when the sports world needs perspective.
She reminds us why we got into sports in the first place: to have fun.
It’s not about how many medals you earn. It’s about the memories and friends you take away from the experience.
That gets lost, sometimes.
Remember the late Ohio State football coach, Woody Hayes, punching a Clemson player after he sealed the win with an interception in the Gator Bowl years ago? Remember the post-game brawl between Ware Shoals and Tamassee-Salem high schools’ basketball teams this past season?
It’s all too unfortunate. All too unnecessary.
Meanwhile, Bond has no time for that. She refuses to feel sorry for herself.
She just wants to play or work her job at the Burton Center.
“Ashley would go, ‘I’m busy, don’t call me; I’ll call you,” Chrystal laughed.
Chancey is sports editor at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 864-223-1813; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @IJSCOTTCHANCEY. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.