Special Olympics message one we can all learn from

There are athletes and then there are athletes.

Many are naturally gifted in certain sports. They train and train, pushing themselves to the limit. Through hard work and determination, many of the athletes in Coweta County win big scholarships to various colleges and universities. We go to various fields and stadiums to watch them, cheering on our favorites, and we are impressed with their skill.

Yet there is another unique group of athletes here who aren’t as well known. Truth be told, they train harder than other athletes graced with certain skills. They are often referred to as special. And that they are. The word “special” refers to those children and adults who are intellectually disabled, to use the term of the Special Olympics organization.

Yet it is not only these athletes who are special, but the countless volunteers who work with these unique athletes. Without these volunteers, there would be no Special Olympics.

For more than 35 years, the Coweta County Special Olympics organization has helped these special needs athletes reach far beyond what they think they can do. 

Their efforts were recognized recently as our county group was named the Outstanding Local Special Olympics Program of the Year for 2013. We, along with everyone in the county, stand and applaud your efforts.

To quote Coweta Special Olympics coordinator Kelly Abercrombie: “We teach our athletes to train, to follow the rules of competition, to have courage and good sportsmanship, but foremost, to always strive to give their best in what they do on the field, in the classroom, at home and wherever their life may take them.”

That is a statement that holds true not only for these special athletes, but should be the motto for anyone, athlete or not. Obey the rules. Be brave. Be fair. Do your best in everything.

More and more in society our heroes are sports figures paid absurd amounts of money, Hollywood “stars” and, even more disappointing, reality show actresses and actors. We know more about the Kardashians - and unfortunately sometimes care more - than we do our neighbors. 

We can do better. Our heroes should be those who defend our country in the armed services, serve in public safety, and teach. They should be those volunteers who work with children and adults with special needs. What they do is heroic, and thus they earn the title “heroes.”




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