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A Special Weekend This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   On Friday, August 19, I drove to UMass-Amherst with my mother and her friend. None of us knew what we were getting ourselves into, and were somewhat nervous. But as soon as we got there, we all knew it was going to be a fun and exciting weekend. We had volunteered to help out at the Senior/Unified Special Olympics.

My mother and five other registered nurses were in charge of giving athletes their medicine and each had to be at an event in case of a medical emergency. I was to help give out the medicine and keep the athletes calm while they waited.

I also helped set up for the different events and I passed out food and snacks. The first time I helped with the medicine I made a friend! Herbert was a member of the Senior Team and he became my loyal follower, sort of an assistant's assistant. By the end of the weekend we were the best of friends!

Early the next day, I helped at the volleyball games. The talent and skill of these special athletes amazed me. But what was really amazing was the athletes' interaction with one another. No one yelled at anyone if they made a mistake and they kept a positive attitude throughout the game, no matter what the score. The losing team looked as happy as the winning team and were always quick to congratulate the others. It was the first time I had seen the game played the way it was supposed to be: for fun not for winning.

Saturday night there was a country music dance. All the athletes dressed up in Western-style clothes and danced the night away. They all appeared to be having the time of their lives.

Sunday afternoon, there was an awards ceremony and cookout. Everybody received some award. Everyone was a winner.

When it was time to go, there were hugs and promises to see everyone again at the next Special Olympics. This summer there will be the World Special Olympics in Connecticut.

The weekend I spent helping out at the Special Olympics was extremely tiring. But it was, without a doubt, one of the best weekends of my summer. I learned some things about myself and about the human race. In a world where there is so much pain and suffering it was a real pleasure to see people with real limitations (with far greater problems than I) take enjoyment in the simplest things, and play a game for the fun of it. It was nice to just see people smiling. fl


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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