12-year-old proves he’s a super kid

Published 10:03 am Thursday, October 15, 2009

HANGING ROCK — The chances were that he would never walk, but he went ahead and did it anyway.

There wasn’t much of a chance that he would talk, either, but it’s an art he has definitely mastered.

And with those seemingly insurmountable obstacles behind him, Kyle Bolen went on to do something nobody has ever done before; he became the first international Super Kids Classic Soap Box Champion.

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Twelve year-old Kyle was born with so many strikes against him that his nurses dubbed him “the alphabet boy.” He suffers from multiple mental and physical health abnormalities, including developmental delays, learning disabilities, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; hence, his health “credentials;” DD, LD, ODD, IED, and ADHD.

On top of all of this, Kyle takes nine different medications to go along with severe epilepsy and a metabolic disease that doesn’t allow his body to properly process fluids, leaving him frequently dehydrated and hospitalized.

“He also has an auditory processing deficit, where the brain does not process the sound that goes in the ear all the time,” his grandmother and custodial parent, Barbara Albert said. “Sometimes it processes and he hears and sometimes it does not. He is a very complicated child, but one that I love very much.”

In an attempt to give Kyle as normal a life as possible, Albert continually searches for ways to add a smile to his face; that is, outside of his impressive Mr. Potato Head collection, his cat “Baby Girl,” video games and a heavy passion for “Animal Planet.”

So, when he came home from the Lawrence County Open Door School last April with a special request, she jumped right on it.

“He had a flier for this contest and wanted to go,” Albert recalled. “So, we went to Charleston so he could race.”

The flier was for the Charleston, W.Va., leg of the 72nd annual All-American Soap Box Derby Championship. For the past three years, Kyle’s flight, The Super Kids, have held their own separate tournaments simultaneously with the All-American participants.

Following this tournament, his first-ever soap box competition, Kyle advanced with the other winners to the national championship site in Akron.

This year, however, the field of 56 Super Kids was graced by a participant from Canada and the title went from “national” to “international.”

“All of the cars for the Super Kids are made and provided by the tournament officials,” Albert said, praising the contest for being so hospitable to children, especially children like her Kyle. “They really go out of their way for these kids.”

She also mentioned the many local sponsors who made Kyle’s magical trip possible. “We framed pictures of him and took them to all of his sponsors,” she said. “Without them, we couldn’t have gotten there.”

So there Kyle was, sitting along-side an experienced rider in a specially made two-seater soap box amid 16,000 fans, ready for the lever to drop and send his car down the steep incline toward the finish line.

Ten times, he emerged victorious in the double-elimination tournament, losing only once. That lone loss sent him to the loser’s bracket, where he fought his way to championship status by twice besting a formerly unbeaten driver.

“I was so excited I ran around in a circle,” Kyle beamed of his accomplishment while reenacting his victory jaunt.

Upon realizing that Kyle had just won the championship, Albert and her daughter, Kathleen, Kyle’s mother, suddenly had circles forming in their heads.

“When we made the trip to Akron, we never dreamed he would win the whole thing,” Albert laughed. “We figured he would be out of it on the first day. We were going to go do some shopping and sightseeing.”

But Albert should have known to never take the odds against Kyle.

The Special Olympics gold, silver and bronze medalist and 2008 Open Door School spelling bee champion has spent his brief life proving that he’s a winner.

This trophy, which stands nearly as tall as his 4’7” frame, along with his solid gold championship ring, are just two of many awards this little fighter has won in his lifetime.

“Out of them all,” Kyle said, “I took the world champion.”

Not bad for somebody who was born without a chance.