Opening Ceremonies filled the CMU football stadium with thousands of athletes & coaches, supporters, staff, & volunteers. The band was playing, the athletes were flowing onto the field, & the crowd was cheering. “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” The Special Olympics athletes oath radiated throughout the stadium giving thousands chills down their spine on this hot afternoon. This is the epitome of the Olympics.
As the first day of Special Olympics Michigan Summer Games began, the CMU buildings were filled with excitment and hope. As coaches watched their athletes put their years worth of hard work to the test, they were proud. Some athletes won their first medal. Some won their last medal. Some won multiple medals. And some left with none. But that didn’t affect how the coaches and onlookers viewed the athletes. Everyone was proud & knew the athletes were brave in their attempt.
As athletes played their sport with every last ounce of bravery they had, their faces were enlightened with joy. Knowing the amount of times they practiced were just shown in a couple minutes or less, they knew it was worth it. Through all the troubles they have had with their disabilities or life-threatening conditions, they knew that a medal didn’t define them. They knew their teammates, coaches, family, & volunteers supported everything they did.
Now being a volunteer was everything and more. To see all of this play out infront of your eyes, watching them try so hard to win that medal, giving high fives and supporting them in their attempt; is life changing. These athletes are more than athletes, they are wonderful humans first. Their disabilities don’t define them, not even in the slightest. They don’t let it tear them down or let it tell them they can’t do that. They prove to everyone and themselves just how wonderful they are.
And after all of the medals are given to the athletes, all of the sports come to an end, and all of the athletes leave CMU’s campus; the spirit continues with them. They go home to continue practicing something they enjoy. They learn and grow from the coaches and teammates. They play games against other teams throughout the year. They may even try out a new sport. But the one thing that continues with them through it all is the spirit of SOMI Summer Games.