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

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   Special Olympics

by P. F., Needham, MA

It was the day of registration at my new high school. I was looking forward to picking the classes I wanted. The teachers were in the auditorium telling about their different subjects. I, naturally, was looking at all the electives. One teacher was talking about the community service program the school offered. I was not very interested so I started to move on, but as I walked past I overheard him say that ten hours (of community service) was required in order to graduate. This did not make me very happy, but I decided that I might as well get it out of the way. It was only one hour a week for one term. I supposed that I would be able to cope, so I signed up for the Special Olympics as a volunteer.

When the first day arrived I was very nervous. About half of the volunteers were not from my school (which was a boarding school), and I did not feel like having to meet anyone else, so I stayed mainly with the kids I knew. That got somewhat boring, so I branched out and started to meet other people. I found most of them were really nice.

The sport we were doing was volleyball. In the Special Olympics, there are mixed teams for volleyball. This means that volunteers actually play with the athletes on the same team during competitions. As it turned out our team was not bad at all. We practiced twice a week and had games one other night. We won almost every game we played, until we went to the regional games.

Held at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the regional games were a one-day gathering of all the Special Olympic volleyball teams from around Connecticut, and parts of Rhode Island. I had never seen so many people walking around with knee pads on. It was a very exciting time.

We played about fifteen different teams that day. Some of the games were very easy wins. Others were very close. Altogether we won thirteen out of fifteen games. The two teams who beat us were amazing. The teamwork and dedication the athletes had was astounding.

The team that got the gold medal was undefeated. The team that obtained the silver medal only lost one game. Our team, having only lost two games, secured the bronze.

This experience has been very valuable to me. I learned how to get along with people whom I thought impossible to get along with at first. I also put in twenty-two hours of community service, instead of the required ten. Since the end of the volleyball season, I have also volunteered to help with other Special Olympic areas such as swimming and ice skating. I urge anyone who is the slightest bit interested in these activities to give them a try. It is definitely worth it.


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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