ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The first thing Bobby Hill did when it became clear his team had won the gold medal was find his father.
He didn’t need to look far.
Bob Hill, who shares most of a name and more than a passing resemblance with his son, was standing just outside the hockey oval, shouting with delight.
“Man!” he said, as the two goalies back-slapped and hugged.
Father and son play together on the Wolf Pack, a Special Olympics floor hockey team that, on Sunday, won a gold medal at the organization’s statewide Winter Games, which drew hundreds of athletes from around the state and their families to Anchorage for three days. On Special Olympics “unified” teams like the Wolf Pack, people with and without intellectual disabilities compete together as teammates, the Anchorage Daily News (http://bit.ly/1esURFr) reported.
For years now the “Hill Boys,” as the coach likes to call them, have been the Wolf Pack’s goalkeeping duo.
In matching knee guards, red jerseys and helmets, they rotate in and out of the quick periods of Special Olympics floor hockey, sharing fist bumps and helmet-grabs.
Bobby Hill relishes the chance to play alongside his father.
“I love my dad,” he said with a shrug and a grin.
Athletics, especially through the Special Olympics, have been a cornerstone for the family since a tragedy in 1986, when Bobby’s mother died of a brain aneurysm. After his wife’s death, Hill says he knew he needed to give Bobby and his high-school aged daughter structure while he raised them as a single dad.
“I was driving back and forth to the base. I had kids at home and nobody around and I just thought, we’re going to do stuff together.”
It paid off: In 2003, Bobby Hill won two gold medals in power lifting in the Special Olympics world championships in Ireland. In 2007, he won four silver medals at the world games in Shanghai. He can squat 350 pounds. In April, he’ll participate in a South Anchorage power lifting competition not affiliated with Special Olympics.
Today, the 34-year-old’s life revolves around workouts and time on the treadmill.