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vikingshadow
09-30-2006, 02:02 PM
Well, I had an extremely busy week this week (actually started last Saturday) and it topped off with my wife asking me if I'd like to volunteer to help at the Special Olympics. I was pretty bummed because it was such a tiring week and well, there's a reason I don't work with mentally and physically handicapped people. However, in an effort to spend some family time and do something good for the community, I said I would.

My wife and I were chosen to help with the bowling events...My wife worked with the special needs group in our town for 2-3 years about 12 years ago, so she's very good with them, but me - my exposure is limited to those who are capable of being in the classroom which aren't really handicapped in any way and tend to be learning disabled (although most are just discipline problems.) Needless to say, I felt very out of place with them, although I always, always tell myself they aren't icky and aren't to be shunned and such. Some just look bad, and tend to pick my wife and me out of a crowd because they know my wife so well. It takes a special person to work with people with disabilities such as I have seen....I'm also ashamed to say I'm not one of those people. Put them in a class and Whammo! I can teach them no problem, but in the public place in a public situation, well, you get the picture.

Anyway, they paired us up with a Special Olympics participant each, then put us in different groups of 3 teams. The participants ranged from people with mental handicaps to people with physical disabilities. The guy I was paired up with was somewhat blind and when he got excited, he tended to get majorly tongue tied and just shut down. He was also very excitable, but not the most disabled person there by a long ways. (A family friend runs the local group and I think she paired me up with him on purpose because she knows how I am...)

Now, I haven't bowled in about a year or two, and I wasn't ever that great - my college average was only 128, but it was the highest one of all the people in my class at that time (I didn't have to take the final exam for it! Talk about a pud class....) I've only bowled a few times since college, mainly just with my wife and the only thing I've tried to do is beat her - she was also in a bowling league and went to state several times, so yeah.

Anyways, the day and the guy I was paired up with was great! The participants were cheering each other on, no put downs, nothing. They got mad at themselves, but calmed down as soon as the next bowler participated. They clapped and cheered, they danced to the music - so much we had to actually calm them down to bowl, and quite honestly, I had a great time. They seemed so care free about everything - hugging, jumping up and down - they cheered loud even for the ones that lost! I was amazed. I found myself thinking that if paintball was like that, I might still be playing....but then brushed it quickly out of my mind because it's not and I wanted to focus on today.

My partner and I won a gold medal in our division! It's an actual metal medal and looks pretty cool! You can't see it too well, but it says, " Special Olympics - Skill Courage Sharing Joy" around the outside of the medal and has two people running on it. The other side has the Special Olympics emblem on it. Believe it or not, I'm more proud of this medal than I was on my last paintball trophy, because it was just so much fun! They told my wife and I that we might get to go to the District Special Olympics if we scored high enough...oh yeah, she and her partner won their division as well!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v402/vikingshadow/personal%20pictures/SpecialOlympicsmedal1.jpg

shunut
09-30-2006, 02:17 PM
Congrats Vike! Being a brother of a Special Olympic participant I know how the events go. Everytime I am there I think that they aren't the ones that are handicap, its the rest of the world. We can all take lessons and learn from them, and we should. Its very rare that you can find someone at the Special Olympic Events that isn't smiling. They always cheer each other on and they always have a good time regardless of what happens. Its amazing that through all their problems, they find the courage to participate and enjoy life more than most people with no problems. Congrats again Vike.

My sister competed 2 weeks ago in the regional swimming meet, she place last in both of her races but she still had fun. She has the state meet in 2 weeks and we are all looking forward to that.

Muddytaco
09-30-2006, 02:40 PM
Sounds like you had a great time, my sister helped out at the track and feild events that were held at texas state and said it was really fun.


And your right about paintball not being like that. We had some stuff happen to are team just at the last tourny we went to. As the day went on are team was doing better and better and got max points in the 4 out of 5 games in the finals. As soon as we passed a team for first they started saying the ref were cheating and taking the paint off of us when we were hit.:rolleyes: I miss the paintball i knew 5-6 years ago when it wasn't take first or nothing.

vikingshadow
09-30-2006, 03:42 PM
The more I think about it, the more I smile. Those people and kids just out and out had fun. Sure, it was about the competition to them, but not the winning. And you're right. Everyone was smiling - even us helpers couldn't help but have a great time and forget all our troubles.

Maybe we are the ones that are handicapped! I just keep thinking about that saying that went around a while about arguing on the internet being like the special olympics. Man, was that ever incorrect!

Hob Hayward
09-30-2006, 04:46 PM
How can you be in the special olympics?

vwjimmy
09-30-2006, 05:04 PM
How can you be in the special olympics?
Did you read his post at all????

Good goin' Vike! Super rewarding and a metal....it doesn't get much better than that!! :)

marvin-martian
09-30-2006, 05:06 PM
bryce = my hero!

vikingshadow
09-30-2006, 05:09 PM
Hob - I wasn't IN the olympics. I was partnered with a guy that was in it.

VW - You're absolutely correct. Instead of adding to the load, it helped lift some of it for me today. You want to know something funny? About halfway through the first game, I was winning and feeling SUPER uncomfortable. I mean, it was the Special Olympics, not the Vike win for all! So I asked the director, "Hey, am I supposed to be winning? Or do I need to let them win?" She told me, "YOu need to do your best to win so that your partner gets a medal!" So from that time on, the competitive me jumped out and kicked butt and tooks some names.

Unfortunately, my wife (remember, the one who plays all the time) beat my overall score by 9 points! Grrrrrrrrr......I'll never live that one down! First time she's ever beat me at bowling!

Mavin - who's Bryce?





I kid, I kid! I forgot you guys actually know my name.....

DRAGON
09-30-2006, 05:16 PM
Great respect & kudo's to ya Vik. I don't think I could manage the patience for such activities -

bamf-hacker
09-30-2006, 06:00 PM
Hats off to you Vike.....

We should all follow in his foot steps and do something rewarding for others...

Vike you just earned your wings... :angel:

vikingshadow
09-30-2006, 06:09 PM
Nah, my wife did. She kind of guilted me into it. I didn't realize what a fun thing it would be until after I was already into it.

Also, I still had some bad thoughts while I was there, but I understand things a bit clearer. Trust me, I'm a long ways from a saint, but I think my wife would be perfect in that position. She keeps me grounded. I'm just an old school kinda "don't-embarass-me" tough guy - the kind that hates to admit when he's wrong...

Dragon - I think you'd be surprised. Patience really didn't play a role here! It just, well, happened. I'm definitely NOT going into that as a career, so don't get me wrong. But I recommend everyone do something like this once in your life. It makes you feel good, makes them feel great, and the world is good for a day.

pbfreak3221
09-30-2006, 06:27 PM
Congrats to you, me and my family did that a few years back. It is a amazing experiance, that everyone should take advantage of

claustrophobia9
09-30-2006, 07:25 PM
lol im glad im not the only one who though vike was hustlin.... :dodgy:

:thumbup: to you vike

ive actually gone down to an adult work center for the mentally handicapped for a school retreat, id have to say the expirience was different but not as wierd or awkward as i thought it would be