Special Moments at the Special Olympics

Photo by Curt Ashcraft/'Our Sports Report' Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)

Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)

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This past weekend, I was blessed to have a front row seat at the 2013 Ohio State Special Olympics Summer Games.  As most of you know, my little cousin, Cole, is very involved with the Special Olympics and even though he was the main reason for my attendance, my eyes were opened to so much more than I ever could’ve imagined.

I arrived on Friday evening to witness the opening ceremonies, which was quite the spectacle.  Cabot Rea, of WCMH NBC 4 in Columbus, was the emcee for the evening and as he honored the supporters, athletes and the lighting of the flame, something became very clear to me.  I realized quite quickly that I never knew how many counties were represented throughout the state for the Special Olympics.  It seemed that every county in Ohio was represented that week, and there was not a difference between any one of them.

Each athlete from each county was not only there to have a good time, but to win as well.  People may think that athletes at the Special Olympics don’t care if they win a medal or not, and that is totally false.  I saw a lot of athletes this weekend that were very upset that they either didn’t receive a medal or didn’t earn the gold.  It was amazing to see the determination in the eyes of these athletes, and what was even more enjoyable was to see the smiles on their faces when they wore that medal around their neck.  After my cousin received the silver medal in the softball throw on Saturday morning, nothing was going to take his big grin away.

Whether they received a medal or not, most of the athletes were as happy as can be, but when their months of hard work and dedication paid off with that special moment on the podium, you could tell that it meant more than anything.  We can really learn a lot from a person with special needs.  Their excitement and love for life shines through on even the worst of days.  After talking to another former Otterbein Cardinal about it this weekend, we both agreed that we would both give anything to be that happy and to enjoy something that much.

On behalf of ‘Our Sports Report’, I would like to congratulate each and every one of the athletes that performed this weekend at the 2013 Ohio State Special Olympics Summer Games.  Your months of practice and hard work paid off and whether you won a medal or not, we all witnessed something special.