My daughter is 37 now and has participated in Special Olympics since she was 8. She has competed in bocce, basketball, bowling, track & field, and powerlifting. Special Olympics has given her the opportunity to not only participate in sports that typical peers participate in, but to compete and to win! It has given her confidence, joy, and pride in her efforts. She will be competing in the Tennessee Special Olympics state competition this weekend in powerlifting. This 5-foot-tall girl can bench press 55 pounds and deadlift over 100 pounds. It is amazing to watch her and to see the total concentration and effort she puts into every event.
Being the parent of a child with special needs is an honor and a privilege. She has taught me many things: among them, patience, persistence, and what true competition means. I am so proud of her, and win or lose, she is always proud of herself.
I hope that each of my blog readers has the opportunity to either watch, volunteer for, or coach athletes in these terrific Games. It will reward you richly. Special Olympics always needs volunteers; contact your local office to offer your energies to an organization that gives these opportunities to people with special needs. You will not regret it.