Charlie Goodhue embodies everything that is great about the Anchor AIMS Games.
He has a heart condition (Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome) which limits the sports he can be involved in, but that hasn't stopped him from competing alongside more than 10,800 athletes at Tauranga's mini Olympics this week.
"I was desperate just to get into a sport and to compete in at least a tournament or something," the 12-year-old told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.
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A teacher at Otumoetai Intermediate knew how keen Charlie was and so approached him earlier this year and asked if he wanted to take part in the AIMS Games.
"And I said: 'Okay, yeah sure. And then I was really excited'," the Year 7 student said.
"I paid all the money and all that stuff and I got myself signed in and I was really, really happy that I could contribute in a sport."
Charlie is playing indoor bowls, a sport he tried for the first time only a few months ago.
"At first I sucked. I'm going to be completely honest, I sucked," he said yesterday with a laugh.
But after weeks and weeks of hard practice, Charlie is getting pretty good. He has improved drastically and is still learning fast.
He was even able to give the Bay of Plenty Times a few pointers.
"Get nice and low to the ground and try to get your thumb right in the middle of the bowl and make sure to have your bias on the right side … because I've done that [wrong] many times."
Charlie took part in the indoor bowls singles competition at ASB Baypark Stadium Lounge on Monday, winning one game and losing three.
He said it was great.
"I got some very good bowls. It was quite fun seeing how many other people were playing and competing. I met a lot of cool people, a lot of really nice opponents, very good sports."
Charlie was full of praise when it came to his fellow bowlers, one of which was a "very, very skilled girl from Tauranga Intermediate".
He was also humble about his win.
"It was a very tight match. I think he was like one point away from beating me."
Disaster struck at one point when Charlie suffered an injury – his finger got squished by a bowl.
It was his main bowling finger. But no drama, he mixed it up and threw a couple with his other hand.
"I still carried on because, might as well, you only live once," he said.
Charlie will be back competing in the indoor bowls tomorrow, this time in pairs.
"Hopefully I can get into the finals this time," he said. Those are taking place on Friday.
His dad, Jason, spent the whole day watching him compete on Monday.
"Having a sport like indoor bowls is really cool because he can compete and get amongst it and enjoy being in a sporting environment without having the restrictions of what his heart condition is," he said.
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome causes a rapid heartbeat, which makes sports with high cardiovascular requirements difficult to take part in. Charlie also has Ebstein's anomaly, a rare heart defect.
Jason said he and Charlie would be getting involved in lawn bowls in Mount Maunganui once AIMS is over.
"So this time next year he should be a lot better."
Goodhue – remember that name for the 16th instalment of the AIMS Games in 2019.
Charlie the lionheart will be back.