Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Relay Begins...

From the official 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games website:

"On 12 November 2008, the Special Olympics Flame of Hope will be lit in Athens, Greece to commence a three-month journey across five continents to delivering hope, courage and inspiration to Special Olympics athletes worldwide.

The flame will stop in 10 cities around the world and transported more than 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) by DHL, the Official Transporter of the Flame of Hope for the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. At each stop the Flame will be carried by teams of law enforcement personnel, Special Olympic athletes and volunteers.

On 28 January 2009 the Flame of Hope will reach Idaho, USA, and begin the Final Leg of the Global Law Enforcement Torch Run. It will reach Boise, Idaho on 7 February 2009 and be used to light the Cauldron to mark the official beginning of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games."

People may think I'm weird, but I am so proud that Idaho is hosting these world games. Boise and the surrounding area will be host to approximately 2,800 athletes, coaches & delegates from 100 countries. Yeah, it's not the regular Olympics, but these athletes train just as hard, if not harder, just to play in these games.

It's kind of soft spot in my heart because when I was young (I think around 10 or so) my mother signed up herself, me and my sister to volunteer with the Special Olympics being held at that time in Long Beach. I don't remember if it was regional games or what, but it was pretty big. During the opening ceremonies, when we were marching around the Millikan High School track with the athletes, the excitement was contagious. I remember an athlete who was probably high school age and the two of us talked the entire time we were marching around that track, about cartoons. At my age, I thought it was the coolest thing that this older person knew SO much about cartoons, lol. I also remember how loud everyone clapped & cheered when the races/competitions were over. It didn't matter if an athlete was a winner or the last one to cross the finish line--everyone clapped just as loudly for every one of them.

To this day, I'm glad my mom signed us up for that. It taught me humility and tolerance. When other kids at school made fun of kids who were mentally challenged, I didn't join in. Because I had seen these athletes and knew they were awesome competitors in everything they did & put forth more effort than a lot of people I knew.

Let the relay begin!!

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