Sunday, July 17, 2011
I was privileged to spend this weekend with 2400 of the most amazing athletes I've ever encountered. I came away in awe--more inspired by and enthusiastic over these special people than any athletes I've ever even heard of. Their guts, determination and raw courage were enough to bring many strong people to tears. Their grace in adversity and generosity of spirit gave everyone who was lucky enough to watch them compete, a new appreciation of the term "athlete."
I spent the weekend at the Oregon Special Olympics.
These brave athletes make most professional athletes look puny and childish in comparison. Where else are you going to find a team of athletes who cheer for the competition? Who high five everyone in sight? Who feel that it's important to make everyone else feel good in order to feel that way themselves?
My team took home gold medals--which was exciting but not as exciting as watching all of the teams come home as winners. In addition to winning medals, they all came home with self-respect, with confidence and with smiles even larger than their hearts.
If you have any inclination to learn how REAL athletes compete, check out your local Special Olympics. They always need volunteers and I promise you that you will learn a whole lot more about yourself than you ever dreamed.