For many years our family just kept to those we knew and extended family. Never really reached out to complete strangers. Eventually after the school took away all the physical activity for Jonathan during the school year, thoughts were he needed some exercise and camaraderie with others that will not judge him or look bad upon him. So we reached out to the Special Olympics.
I am an introverted person my husband is the complete opposite. Complete strangers just smile at him and make conversation. I have a hard time remembering people’s names and faces, my husband can remember just about everyone. So this was going to be a whole new experience for me. I signed up to be a volunteer to help out, my husband and daughter signed up to be swimming coaches and volunteers. Eventually Christopher would sign up to be a volunteer as well. So you could say the entire family is involved with Special Olympics one way or another.
This has been an eye-opening experience for Jonathan and myself as well. For me I find a new joy in watching the athletes trying their best and even when they get disappointed they still smile and keep going. Seeing new families coming into the Special Olympics family and making the connections like my family did just makes me feel awesome. Being able to share our sons stories and experiences with newer families is just so awesome. Jonathan has come out of his shell. He now knows how to be a part of the team and really tries his hardest to be his best. Most importantly he gets exercise too.
Some of the greatest people you will meet are involved with Special Olympics. Whether it’s a family member, coach, volunteer, unified partner or athlete they always put their best foot forward and give their everything. The smiles on the faces say it all.
Yesterday we received some bad news from our Special Olympics family. One of the most awesome persons we knew passed away at the age of 32.
The first memory of this young man was about 3 years ago. When we first began with Special Olympics. There was an informal picnic at Gemini State Park. ( Now you have to understand this was the first time our sons were going to be able to be around others and not be judged by their actions or behaviors. So we were really kind of hesitant. Not knowing what to expect.) He came up to me and asked me “how are you mama” and gave me a hug. He would always tell my boys “be good to your mama” and always a hug would follow. He was named the county’s Inspirational Athlete of the Year for 2014.
He was always smiling and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. He will be sorely missed. The good Lord has for sure gained one heck of a angel.
So after reading this blog do yourself a favor and check out Special Olympics. The saying around here is “Be a fan” or even better become a volunteer. You can always feel good from helping others. They will make a difference in you for sure.