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True Athletes MAG

By Anonymous

   As I arrived early Sunday morning, all I could see were signs indicating special parking for particular sports. Police and volunteers were racing about, helping to get this special day ready. Balloons of red, yellow, blue, and white swirled and danced in the frigid autumn morning air. The anticipation was high, and everyone was very excited. Today wasn't just any old game, today was the Massachusetts Special Olympics.

This year the games were being held at Governor Dummer Academy in Newbury. The ceremony started at 10:00 and ended with a spectacular show, with four skydivers jumping out of a plane 5,000 feet above and landing on the X in the middle of the field. The athletes sang the national anthem and recited the Special Olympics pledge, "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Then the games began. I was excited and a little apprehensive because I didn't know what to expect. I was here not only to cheer on the team, but to watch my younger brother, Mark, play soccer. Mark is 12 years old and has Downs Syndrome. Mark is very athletic and loves all sports, but especially soccer. He was really excited about the game, and eager for his chance to play.

His team, the Boston Hurricanes, had eight players. The one thing I noticed right away was how the team worked together. They passed to each other, ran up and down the field trying to get open, blocked, kicked, and finally SCORED! They had won their first game, but already I could tell something was different about how they played. There were no egos; there were no superstars; there was not one person playing for him or herself. They were truly a team, each having his own special talent and sharing it with the team and one another.

All the hard work paid off. They won the first game 4-0, and continued on to play another team. The next team would be a little harder, but it wasn't anything the Hurricanes couldn't handle. Despite the bright sun, it was still a frigid autumn day. There was not one complaint from the team. I was wrapped up in two jackets and still complaining about the cold. The second game ended with them winning l-0, in a close game. It was enough to qualify for the championship.

At lunch, everyone was eager to go inside and warm up. The championship game was held after lunch. The academy had prepared a nice meal. All the volunteers were friendly and helpful. The team was excited to have their championship game coming up.

After lunch, the anticipation grew. I was excited and hopeful. As the players took to the field for the championship game, they were proud and anxious. The Hurricanes played well and had scored two goals by half time. But this game wasn't about winning or losing, it was about having fun and giving the sport your best try. The game ended, and the Hurricanes won the gold medal.

As the team stood on the stage and smiled, holding their gold medals, I felt proud, proud of the team and proud of my own brother. They had all taught me a lesson. Each was a champion. They went out and did their best despite the odds. I think

this should be a lesson to all. The Special Olympics will be a day to remember. l

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