12/9/2019 10:32:00 AM Arneson, Rochester Flyers are on their way to Los Angeles
Bailey Arneson, a 2017 graduate of Stewartville High School, right, shakes hands with Rick Spielman, general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, after Arneson signed a contract to play for the Rochester Flyers Unified Flag Football team.
Dressed in Vikings gear and wearing a stylish mouthguard, Bailey Arneson carries the ball during a recent workout. Arneson is a member of the Rochester Flyers Unified Flag Football team that will travel to Los Angeles to play the L.A. Chargers Special Olympics Unified team this Sunday, Dec. 15.
Anyone who knows Bailey Arneson can tell you he loves sports. As a student at Stewartville High School, he ran the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter events for the SHS boys track team, heard the roar of the crowd as he hit several 3-pointers for the boys varsity basketball team, and served as, in his words, the "waterman" for the varsity football team for four seasons. Aaron Meyer, the former head coach of Stewartville's varsity football team, remembers Arneson as one of the finest managers his teams ever had. "His main responsibility was to fill the water jugs on game days and pass out water bottles during timeouts or between series," Meyer said. "Bailey did a lot more than that, though. Because he loves football so much, he was always helping shag footballs for drills and just enjoying being around a high school football practice." Meyer has fond memories of Bailey Arneson, the person. "Bailey is a super positive young man," Meyer said. "He smiles with his whole body, and that in itself brings joy to those around him," Arneson, who has developmental cognitive disability, loves watching the Minnesota Vikings play on television. He watches every game, without fail, hoping for a Vikings victory. "I cheer loud," he said. Since graduating from Stewartville High School in 2017, Arneson has played softball and basketball, and flag football with the Rochester Flyers. In September, the Rochester Flyers organization submitted an application for its members to be included on a Special Olympics Unified Flag Football Team. Arneson is one of six players selected for the team, which will fly to Los Angeles this weekend to compete against the L.A. Chargers Special Olympics Unified team shortly before the Vikings play the Chargers this Sunday, Dec. 15. The game will be played at Dignity Health Sports Park, on the same turf where the Vikings and Chargers will play shortly thereafter... For more on this story pick up your copy of the Dec. 10 Stewartville STAR.