Heart Wins the Game

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Special Olympics-Soccer

Eunice Kennedy Shriver spoke these words at the opening ceremony of the very first Special Olympics  in July of 1968 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.  The words eventually became the official motto of the Special Olympics and is duly recited at each event by eager athletes ready to compete.

I had the privilege of attending such an event today at the Special Olympics  Southern California County Regional Fall Games.  The day was hot, too hot to be playing outside, much less competing in rigorous sport and I was worried this would dampen enthusiasm or worse, cause medical issues.  Boy, was I mistaken, as these athletes were here to play and certainly weren’t going to let a little heat stand in their way!

Some takeaways from this spectacular day:

People are people regardless of mental or physical disabilities.  We all want to be acknowledged and treated with dignity and fairness.

Those that might be considered “different” don’t want special treatment, just a shot at doing things many of us take for granted.  They might need certain accommodations or a helping hand, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t like everyone else when it comes to competition.  They like to win.

There is a certain character trait shared by many who have faced hardship and which I Special Olympics-High Fivesaw in abundance in the athletes and families I interacted with.  It’s a calm joy that exudes outward and that comes from having learned long ago that circumstances don’t define a person and that the ability to choose your attitude is the secret to life.

We are all considered equal in God’s eyes, each stamped with our own unique qualities.  We ALL have value through Him, none more than the other, regardless how our brains may work or our bodies move.

Special Olympics-Color GuardThe most touching moment for me was when the National Anthem was played.  As usual, I teared up as those memorable words were sung and I looked out over a sea of people beaming with pride.  Most were standing, some seated in wheelchairs and many with hands held over hearts.  Not one downed knee among the crowd, no surprise there.




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23 Responses to Heart Wins the Game

  1. Canuck Carl says:

    Reading this made my heart smile Tricia. I have attended local events for special needs, and these athletes have such big hearts. There is so much I can learn. I have so little adversity in comparison, yet there is as you describe it “that pure joy that exudes outward”.

    Thank you for sharing this. A great way to start my day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My classroom was next door to what was known as the SpED class—or special education class.
    I loved being the neighbor to these kids—as did my students. Being the art teacher, we’d invited them over all the time getting them to help with various projects—it was a great time for both rooms of kids!!!
    My bag boy at my grocery store always competes in Special Olympics and is so proud wearing his medals to work—such a great program!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    In all my years I have never attended a Special Olympics event. Thank you for letting me know what I have been missing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ColorStorm says:

    Well played trish.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Al says:

    Uplifting article, Tricia. These kids and the people who work with them are an inspiration, especially in this time of denigrate the person who doesn’t agree with you. Good example of how love conquers politics.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sweet post,Tricia. I have some fond memories of Special Olympics,too. Some of those guys (and gals,) have taught me some incredible things. There’s some real wisdom lurking there.

    To this day my favorite apologetics argument came from a guy who simply said, “Are you real? If you’re real,God is real. If you’re not real,than you should shut up.” Cracked me up. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wally Fry says:

    Ahhh, Tricia. I’m a wee bit behind. Well, this post was just what the doctor(The Great Physician) ordered. I bit of cheer in a really gloomy blog land. Thank you much.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The ancient Greeks thought warriors were people with a very high level of spirit.

    After reading your post, for the first time in my life, I contemplated the idea that many disabled people might also process that same warrior spirit and desperately need a way to express it.

    The ancient Greeks famously developed sports competitions to keep their warriors occupied and happy during times of peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My father coached special Olympics for many years. He always believed he benefited from the experience as much as the kids.
    I know I often relate events to health experiences, so I may as well continue to be consistent.

    Maybe we should consider to re-think our position on forced (mandatory) vaccinations that produce risk of injury (proven by the almost 4 billion dollars in financial compensation awarded to families) in favor or forced (mandatory) RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER proven to offer NO HARMFUL SIDE EFFECTS! The inability to speak one’s mind without fearful retribution causes more “disease” to our country than ANY germ our doctors attempt to protect us from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well Jonathan, why am I not surprised that there was a Special Olympics coach in your family? Those coaches work hard at no pay and really care for those kids, God bless your dad for helping out.

      Teach respect for each other? Now there’s a novel concept, one with many positive returns.

      I like your consistency. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I worry that my boy has every luxury. Wonderful post, T.

    Liked by 1 person

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