April 18, 2010

An Athlete is an Athlete is an Athlete

Our house is across the street from Menlo College. During certain times of the year we can hear sporting events, usually football games, but today I heard some music and an announcer on the loud speaker. I realized it must be a track meet. Wanting to re-live a tiny bit of my youth, I decided to take the boys over to the field to watch some of the meet. When we got there the sign read, "Special Olympics." I have to admit my first thought was, This is going to raise a lot of questions. But in the spirit of good sportsmanship and wanting the boys to experience differences, we took our seats on the sidelines.

We were just in time for the 100m dash. It brought me back to the days when I ran that same race. As the racers took to their lanes, I could feel the same nerves build when I heard, "On your mark, get set....bang....
These athletes may have had physical disabilities, but the energy, determination and heart it took to run that race, made me realize a few things.  When I raced in high school it was all about being the most physically fit. Today, it was all about the courage it took to overcome their physical disabilities to win that race. In my mind that is the definition of a true athlete. The word "special" really does fit these games, and more importantly these athletes.

I have to say, I expected to answer many different types of questions about each of the athletes. The funny thing is, Nate didn't point out one single difference. It just goes to show, an athlete, is an athlete, is an athlete!

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