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Editorial: Carroll's Nauman provides rare magical moment at Camden Yards

Nicholas Nauman, a recent Carroll Springs School graduate, is performing the national anthem before Thursday's Orioles game at Camden Yards. Nicholas deals with various disabilities -- cerebal palsy, visual impairment, and more. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

There hasn’t been a whole lot of Orioles Magic at Camden Yards this season. But perhaps the loudest ovation and most inspiring moment at Oriole Park this year will be what happened there Thursday night, June 28, before the first pitch was even thrown.

New Windsor’s Nick Nauman, a 12th-grade student at Carroll Springs School, sang a rousing rendition of the national anthem at the Orioles game before a crowd of 14,000 plus, who along with the players on the field, returned his efforts with a standing ovation. He received pats on the shoulder and a game ball from the umpires, a thumbs up from the Oriole Bird, and congratulations from family and friends who had come to see him. Some had goosebumps. Others shed tears.

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Nauman, 18, has cerebral palsy, a repaired cleft palate and cortical vision impairment, among other developmental disabilities, which have left him with the intellectual capacity of a 3-year-old.

His parents, Chris and Maria Nauman, who adopted Nick from Ukraine when he was just nine months old, said they were surprised to learn he’d memorized the anthem, given his disabilities.

Although we’ve likely heard “The Star-Spangled Banner” hundreds of times in our lives, it’s not an easy song to sing. Just do a quick Google search of “mess up national anthem,” and it’ll bring up videos of well-known artists like Christina Aguilera, Lady Antebellum and Michael Bolton forgetting the words or mishmashing lyrics on a big stage.

Nick nailed it. Just like on the morning announcements at Carroll Springs, a day school for special education students and those with multiple severe disabilities, where Nick would practice. It was Rachael Mayer, a post-secondary special educator at Carroll Springs, who helped with the audition video of him singing the anthem sent to the Orioles.

Nick is an inspiration that many of us could use these days. He doesn’t let the hand life dealt him keep him from trying things that might seem impossible for others in his situation, and he does them to the best of his ability. He recently competed in a Special Olympics Maryland event where he won a gold medal. He participates in 5K events with his dad.

“Nick is not a pity party,” his mother, Maria, told us. “And when he wants to do something, he lets us know what it is. … That’s what is so inspirational about him. He doesn’t know what he can’t do. Anything that he wants to do, he just sets out and does it.”

So many of us spend out time preoccupied with what we can’t do and the obstacles that will keep us from achieving our goals. Those challenges, real or perceived, often stop people dead in their tracks, even if they have been blessed with an able body and mind.

Camden Yards hasn’t exactly been the place to be for inspiration these days. On Thursday, Nick Nauman gave those in the stadium and watching at home an uplifting moment we could all use from time to time. We could all learn something from Nick.

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