Cowboys Stadium is a big hit for small athletes

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by GEORGE RIBA

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WFAA

Posted on July 2, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 6 at 11:26 PM

ARLINGTON — You've all heard of the X Games taking place in Los Angeles this week; and the Olympic games which will begin in London less than four weeks from now.

But for 250 athletes, Monday's competition at Cowboys Stadium was their Olympics.

"To be able to put on our sporting events in a venue that is not only world class but top of the world class, definitely says a lot for what we're accomplishing today," says Ernie Lee, a board member of the Dwarf Athletic Association of America.

On Monday, these athletes were playing football at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington as part of the 26th DAAA National Games. It's the first time the organization has staged a contest in an NFL stadium.

"They made us a great offer," said Jim Eckenrode. "We had some time to raise some funds. A lot of people gave just out of their pockets at my work and made it happen."

TLC has a television series called "Little People, Big World." At Cowboys stadium, that phrase is ever so true.

"I felt like an NFL player," said Kevin Cekanor, one of the participants. "It was cool to finally be here after seeing it on TV so many times. 'Wow, I want to be there.' I finally got the opportunity to come, so it was awesome!"

"You walk in and you're like, 'Holy Geez! How do you play with all these seats filled?' I wouldn't be able to do that, I don't think," Zoe Meil said.

The organization provides a level playing field for athletes of similar stature and speed. The week-long event will include track and field, swimming, basketball, soccer, volleyball, bocce and badminton competitions.

Other venues being used include the University of Texas at Arlington, the Rockwall ISD Aquatic Center, and the Indoor Soccer Zone.

Football was a big hit this year. "We had more people play football this year than they have in the past," said Amy Andrews, the president of DAAA.

Zoe Meil summed up her day this way: "Thanks Jerry Jones for letting us come in here and play football," she said. "It was really awesome!"

The 26th DAAA National Games continue through July 4.

E-mail griba@wfaa.com

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