My husband and I volunteered as team leaders today at a Special Olympics event. It was truly one of the most enriching, enlightening and joyful things I have done in my life. We were blessed with four wonderful children today, who we guided throughout their track and field events. Whose parents trusted their children with two complete strangers, for more than 6 hours. I cannot thank them enough for this experience.
As someone who has struggled with incredible sorrow everytime I see a child who is disabled, I made it my personal goal to find something that would bring me closer to these children in a way that would help me understand their world. And more importantly, and hopefully, bring me to a place of peace that their lives albeit different than mine and most, were full and happy. I have to admit it, I was nervous.
The day started with some warmup activities, and a reciting of the Special Olympics oath:
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
Yes, let me brave in the attempt.
What I learned today, is how pure the entire concept of Special Olympics is. And how pure, trusting and courageous the young athletes are in their attempt to do their best for themselves and their team. Against all odds, these kids never stopped smiling, running, jumping, throwing, hugging, sharing, listening, trying, cheering and competing. They inspire greatness.
I know this day was about giving these wonderful children new experiences, but this day turned out to be an incredible experience for me too. It has brought me peace but also resolve to commit to this amazing organization.
I am so very grateful for this day, to Special Olympics and especially to Team 20!