Saturday, June 12, 2010
A Special Day
“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”
Special Olympian’s Motto.
Today, I attended the 2010 Special Olympics Summer Games held at California State University Long Beach. This was my first time attending and I knew two of the participating athletes. Both young women are residents in the group homes that I supervise. One uses a motorized wheel chair and the other self-propels her chair. Both placed first in their division of wheelchair racing and received gold medals. I felt like a proud mama!
The opening ceremony was touching. Numerous Law Enforcement Officers paraded onto the track, to the resounding applause and cheering from those of us in the grandstands. They stood at attention in formation of a two-sided pathway to welcome in the athletes. As the athletes processional began, under the banners of their respective county, the police officers high-fived the over 10000 athletes. (My sources tell me that there was some mighty fine looking cops there!)
Once all athletes were assembled on the field, the posting of colors was done, and one of the officers sang the national anthem. A few introductions were given, and then Rafer Johnson came up onto the podium. He is a former Olympic gold medal winner and the founder of the Special Olympics. While he was speaking, there was a fly over from the nearby Coast
Guard helicopter. The big orange flying machine came very low and circled twice in honor of the occasion. That was thrilling!
Then it was time for the lighting of the torch. From outside the track, dozens of motorcycle officers rolled up with sirens blaring. Then a bagpipe playing duo ushered in the special athlete chosen to light the torch. He held it high and ran at a fast pace. Goosebumps!
After a few more words and a special song, the MC yelled out “Let the games begin!
- ► 2011 (38)