Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Other Olympics

Recently, I got the opportunity to volunteer with the Special Olympics. I helped with the podium of the softball throw event. I was an escort. My job was simply to walk the contestants to the podium, making sure that they line up in the correct order and assisting any contestants that needed help making the climb. Sometimes this meant holding the contestant's hand as I helped them to their spot. I got first row seats to their victory celebrations, from holding up number ones to showing off their muscles and performing signature dance moves. I chatted with many contestants as they awaited their time on the podium. Some were more talkative than others, but one point was nearly universally consistent: no matter where they placed, they were happy. Many contestants told me before their time on the podium that they didn't care where they placed, because they knew that they gave it their all. They were simply happy to be there, and were proud of their accomplishments. Competing contestants animatedly cheered for and congratulated each other, regardless of who placed higher. It was their moment, and they were loving every minute of it (or at least looked like they were).

These are a special part of society, the men, women and children that function differently from most others. But even preschoolers know that we’re not supposed to look down on people that are different from us, not at anytime or in anyway. Our country was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. This means that the award-winning football star is no better than the man that needs help tying his shoes in the morning. But our society, or at least the part of it that’s my age, seems to be having trouble in grasping this painfully simple concept. We avoid, whether blatantly or in a less obvious way, individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities, while at the same time flocking to music, movie, and sports stars by the droves.

The Special Olympics are a chance for the people that are not respected by all of society to show that they can compete too, and that they aren’t afraid to try. I am very glad to have volunteered this year, and hope to continue to do so in the future. The joy that these events bring to people is amazing to witness, and being able to help bring that joy about is priceless.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback