To Walk, Perchance to Run This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Ever see a 50-yard-dash racer in a wheelchair?A tennis player with a cane? How about a pitcher in a walker? You will see theseathletes - and many others - at a Special Olympics event.

While my lifeusually consists of deciding which shirt to wear and how to style my hair,Special Olympics athletes have much more serious concerns: how to write, walk anddrive. But they do write, walk and drive. And run. And jump. And cheer. Theircheering greeted me as I arrived for my first Special Olympics, which began withan opening ceremony. Volunteers and participants circled the track as a marchingband bellowed an Olympic tune. Four teenage athletes carried a torch around thetrack to begin the games, and the volunteers were assigned to their posts. Minewas the softball throw.

As I approached my position, I had qualms aboutthis experience. But then I saw groups of handicapped men and women determined towin. One woman, Kim, walked over to me and made me feel completely comfortable.She began to talk about her visits to the animal shelter, and how she loves dogs,cats and Mickey Mouse.

The athletes sat and told the volunteers hownervous they were, about their training and how badly they wanted to succeed. Itwas amazing to see their determination. From participants with mild handicaps tothose with more severe ones, everyone gave their all. After each ball toss, thevolunteers would slap high fives and give hugs, cheering the athleteson.

I have always wanted to be a special education teacher, and aftervolunteering at the Special Olympics, I cannot wait to feel the satisfaction ofhelping others every day. The reward of seeing the participants' glowing smilesgave me an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction. I often find myself stressedfrom school and my peers, but I've learned that I can do anything and should nottake anything for granted. Next year, I'll definitely return as a Special Olympicvolunteer.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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