Is it just ME, or do you too find yourself fascinated and motivated by the athletes of Special Olympic?
A life-long sports fan, I have witnessed up close and personal some rather awesome sports events. Ali and Frazier, the 1969 New York Mets, The U.S. Olympic Hockey victory, Secretariat’s Triple Crown win…
Sports is a unifying language that connects people of diverse cultures who understand the commitment, the motivation and the competitive highs or lows that result on fields, courts, tracks, swimming pools, mountains and the streets of cities such as Boston and New York.
There is much to be learned watching athletes and perhaps the greatest schooling I have received is through Special Olympics.
From the opening event of this year’s games in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., the expressions on the faces of the participant told the entire story. These athletes are special not because of what they cannot do but because of what they believe they can do – THEN DO IT! They are special because they do not sit on the sidelines and watch. Rather, they are watched, applauded, encouraged and decorated for their triumphs – all because they did not pass-up the opportunity to try.
Perhaps the only more telling faces are those of the parents, the siblings, the coaches and the supporters of these amazing athletes; so rightfully so. As with all competitors, as in a family, a community or a workplace, it is the team spirits, the dynamic of the collective conscience and the power of numbers that pushes others forward.
So, what lessons have I learned… and what lessons am I reminded of…?
I am reminded that, as my Dad always said, “The world doesn’t owe you a living”, and that it is my efforts and the support of others that have taken me and will take me where I am destined to be.
I am reminded that the only limits on me are the ones I place on myself.
I am reminded that it is OK to ask so as to receive.
I am reminded that dreaming is not enough; I must take action.
I am reminded that life is a journey of millions of tiny steps and that as long as I keep moving I can go anywhere I chose.
I am reminded that at the end of the day as long as I gave it my all I can put my head on my pillow and rest well.
I am reminded that each new day brings new opportunities and that I am not defined by yesterday’s victories – or defeats – but by the way I move forward.
I am reminded that every person has abundant blessings and that continuing to count my own helps I discover more.
I am reminded that I am never alone and that someone, somewhere is cheering for me though I may not hear it in my ears but can feel it in my heart.
I am reminded that I can be that person for another and that is another blessing for me!
So, IS it just me, or do you too recognize greatness where it is – not by how it looks, but by the action it takes and the reaction it creates?
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics competitions are held every day, all around the world—including local, national and regional competitions, adding up to more than 70,000 events a year. Like the International Paralympic Committee, the Special Olympics organization is recognized by the International; however, unlike the Paralympic Games, Special Olympics World Games are not held in conjunction with the Olympic Games, and regional Special Olympics committees are not closely modeled on National Olympic Committees.
Special Olympics was started in 1963 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.