While I love the Special Olympics movement and what is does for the individuals who participate in the many activities available, I am even more in love with the athletes themselves. The world can learn many things from these incredible individuals. Special Olympians do not care where you are from. They do not care about colour, race, creed, nationality, language, disability, differences...they care that you are alive. They care that you are human.
So many examples of how athletes from warring countries embraced each other without judgement. Whites embracing blacks. Jew embracing Muslim. Some of you may be gasping at the language I am using but is not "political correctness" one of the factors that got us into the mess the world is in right now? Why can't we just be humans? Why do we have to be "african american" or "native american" or "jew" or "muslim" or "christian" or whatever!? Why?
While David was in high school, his music class did research on some great Jazz musicians and one of the questions posed by his teacher was "who was the best black musician of all time?" I, unfortunately, had to teach David what being "black" meant. Up until that point, he never differentiated people by colour or by race. It was taught to him to answer questions for school. It broke my heart to have to do that. (In hindsight, I could have called the school and told them these types of questions were inappropriate but I didn't think of that at the time.)
Today, David doesn't mention colour of individuals because it doesn't matter to him. It doesn't mean anything. He accepts everyone exactly as they are and shouldn't that be true for all of us? Hate is not a trait we are born with...it is a trait we are TAUGHT and this type of teaching must stop. Wars are being raged over many generations because hate is passed from one generation to another. With special olympians, love is the predominant force behind these individuals. They love everyone. They love to compete. They love to be recognized for what they can achieve, not what they can't.
At some level, aren't we all special olympians? There are some things we are good at and some things we aren't. Not everyone is good at everything so what makes us "normal" and them not? What is the definition of normal anyways?
Here is what I know. Special Olympians are special unique individuals with amazing gifts and a huge capacity to love unconditionally. Isn't that what being human is all about? Imagine if we put special olympians in our local governments? Imagine if the members of united nations where replaced with special olympians? How quickly would the world's problems be resolved? Damn straight...they would be resolved in no time. No one would suffer. No one would hate. No one would die from starvation or war. No one.
If you want to see humanity at its finest, attend a local special olympics competition. Open your heart to these individuals. Let them teach you what true sport is all about. I dare you to change your paradigm on these individuals and this organization. I guarantee you will come out the winner. With blessings Sharon