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A Very Special Day



Humbling Experience

Yesterday morning I awoke, knowing that I would be headed to the Annual Special Olympic Track Meet to cheer on several wonderful young men and women that I have come to know over the past 10 ~ 12 years. When I awoke, it was cold, misting of rain, and very dreary outside. I felt myself wishing that they would just “call it off”. I didn’t want to leave my nice warm cozy home to go out in the less than desirable weather…. I mean seriously, Who would..???

I arrived at the track and was met by so many smiling faces, HUGS, high-fives, and excitement from all the “special” young men and women I’ve seen every Monday evening for the past two months at practice. Quite a few of them got their events in, and were proudly displaying their Blue (first place) Red (second Place) Yellow (third place) or green (participant) Ribbons that they received for such events. To some the Blue and Red meant everything, while others were just as happy to have the green (participant) ribbons.

Soon the downpour of rain came, we were all shuttled down under the bleachers, out of the rain, and safe from the thunder/lightning. For the next hour and fifteen minutes I was surrounded by many happy faces, great conversation, hugs :hug: and high-fives :highfive: with the athletes, and spending time with special people who have become my friends, one in particular named Eric, who competes in his wheelchair and absolutely melts my heart every time he smiles and struggles to get his words out. It turned out to be one of the best hour and a half I’ve spent recently. They made their own fun with what we had to work with.

Soon it was announced that the weather was relentless, and showing no signs of letting up so the Meet was officially called “OVER” and the athletes were free to leave and go home…. Suddenly I was being asked numerous questions… “Does this mean I don’t get to do my Race” or “I didn’t get to do my race, can I still come to the Pizza Party in two weeks..??” or “Since I didn’t get to race, How can I qualify for the State Meet..??” and so on…

Today, reflecting on the events that transpired, and remembering my wish yesterday that they “just call it off” and the question I asked myself about Who would want to leave their warm cozy home to “weather the storms” I realized I knew the answer all along…. It was a couple hundred Very Special People who look forward this weekend all year long……..

So yes, next year, the 4th Saturday in April I will be there once again to cheer on my favorite athletes, no matter the weather…..

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What a great and special story Gramz.. I remember looking at the wether that day and saying it was going to be tough getting that meet in.

My thoughts are: rain, sleet, snow....our loved ones, the elderly, pets, and anyone with any special needs come first before anything/anyone else.

This is why your friends love and care about you so much. Thank you for a humbling experience.

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What a wonderful post and a reminder to live in the moment. Exactly what I needed today. Thanks!

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You get all the ribbons Gramz!!!!

I'm just a spectator... :) These individuals are wonderful.

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I too find myself at times having a little bit of a negative outlook on some things...and then something unexpected and humbling comes along to remind me how blessed I truly am. :)

What special and inspiring young men and women you were surrounded by on Saturday!

Thanks for sharing Gramz!

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Great first blog Gramz you did great on the post. I can tell your an inspiration to all those young girls and boys. Thanks for sharing with us.

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"Into everyone's life a little rain must fall," but no one deserves to be deprived of competing in a Special Olympics event especially when they train for it all year long. Pizza is a small consolation prize from my perspective. The story is optimistic & touching no doubt, but failing to reschedule this event is highly inappropriate in my book. To a lot of these kids, this event is their athletic version of Christmas designed to showcase their unique & hard earned talents.

As a person born with a physical disability myself, the hosts of this event must allow all athletes to shine & show their talents on a different day. Despite the logistical glitches here, every effort must be made to permit these athletes to put their talents on full display for everyone to see, hear, & feel. No, I never competed in similar events myself & I never had any desire to do so, but for many of these athletes this event is a form of expression, joy, & independence that symbolizes a right of adult maturity & a rite of passage that several disabled children seldom if ever get to experience personally. I know this for a fact.

Nice blog Gramz. You have a compassionate heart & I love you for that. Thank you. The concerns of the disabled community are vital to me & I will fight for autonomy for my disabled brothers & sisters until my dying breath.

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It's almost that time of year again.  

The meet is next Saturday, April 27th, and we've had some pretty good practices this year.  


I sure hope for better weather this year.

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