Special Olympics – State Meet

June 28, 2008 at 1:16 pm 1 comment

In a previous post, we covered how #3 had won his 100 Meter heat in the Special Olympics regional finals.  This meant he qualified for the state meet.  Special Olympics is an amazing organization – check it out when you have a few minutes…

So, #3 was pretty pumped about the state meet.  He talked about it a lot – the location, the date, the hotel, the interstates we were going to take, how long it took to get there, the hotel, the date, the location, where we might stop for food, etc…

When the date arrived, we piled numbers 3 thru 6 into the car and you can bet we hit all of the previously discussed interstates, stopped for food, talked a lot about when we would get there and finally, we arrived at our hotel.  Whew!  We settled in for a bit and then went to Opening Ceremonies that evening.

Opening Ceremonies was very cool – just like the Olympics – parades of athletes, comments from important officials no one knows, frisbee catching dogs, torch lighting and FIREWORKS!!!

Fireworks?  We were sort of all asking ourselves the question “why fireworks?”.  Most special needs kids we know absolutely hate fireworks – they are too loud, etc…  Fireworks are ranked about 2 on #3’s Top 10 List of “Things I Hate That Other People Love” – right there behind 4th of July fire engines.  Fortunately, the announcer gave the 3,000 athletes and their families about 30 seconds warning to leave the stadium before the fireworks started – you know, for those who don’t like them (like everyone there).

#3 started to panic a bit and made a bee line for the exit with his hands over his ears.  As I chased him, numbers 4 thru 6 all hastily jog-walked backwards along with mom – torn between #3’s need to leave and actually watching the fireworks – which the rest of us enjoy.  We finally made it out of there – #3 could have used a beer, but he’s only 15 – I on the other hand…

The next day we arrived at the stadium for #3’s big event – the state finals of the 100 Meter dash.  It was a festive atmosphere with athletes participating and families cheering – a beautiful day.  We all bopped around for a bit waiting for his heat and the moment finally arrived.

I set up to film the race at about the 50 meter point of the track.  As I peered thru the camera at the starting line I noticed that #3 was dwarfed by large manlike fellas lining up next to him.  BANG!  Off they go.  He got off to a good start (holding his ears), but something wasn’t right.  He wasn’t really running – at least, not fluidly like he normally does.  He was more waddle running – it was strange – I have never seen it before.  As mom greeted him at the end of the race she said “Wow!  Those guys were really fast”.  To which #3 responded “Yeah, I REALLY have to take a dump.”  Doh!

#3 got his 7th place ribbon and picture with Miss Teen Illinois and we headed home.  As we reflected and encouraged him on the way home, we again commented on how fast the other guys were in his race.  He said “Yeah, but we all hugged at the end, so it doesn’t matter”.  And that, all other things aside, is the magic of Special Olympics – community for those who crave it most.


Entry filed under: Daily Life.

“This one goes to eleven” and other misc. Teaching moment

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Michelle  |  March 21, 2009 at 10:57 am

    What a wonderful story!! It completely made my day-I’m sure I won’t be able to stop smiling!


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