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From the Rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver to the Special Olympics

February 11, 2009

If you’ve stopped my blog this week you know I’ve been reading Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It is a work of fiction based around the real life horrific event, Rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver, or Operation Spring Breeze. The roundup of French Jews by the French Government in July 1942.

This story is an emotional roller coaster ride portraying the worse side of humanity. This book drained me mentally. The first night I tossed and turned rerunning passages through my sleep deprived mind. I’ve been stunned by the things I’ve read.

Today I saw the best of humanity. The Winter World Special Olympic games are taking place in Boise, Idaho this week. We had a blast! From volunteers to coaches to athletes to supporters we were surrounded by love. There was dignity and grace in loss. Sportsmanship without any pretense. Camaraderie among nations and countries that you won’t find anywhere else. Winning and losing were celebrated with equal abandon because in the world of Special Olympics there are no losers. We were graced and blessed with all that is right in the world.

We watched Floor Hockey and Speed Skating. We saw athletes from countries that have next to nothing playing teams with the best of everything. Fall down? Pick yourself up and go forward. Miss the goal? It’s OK, there’s always the next time. Even though we as spectators noticed the differences these athletes didn’t. You take the god given talent you have and you make the most of it.

There were no bad attitudes, no temper tampturms on display. No giving up. Crowds cheered as loudly for last place as first because we were cheering the effort not the color of the medal.  The smiles were infectious and many. Everywhere you looked there was nothing but good times to found.

The Special Olympics athlete oath: Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

One Comment
  1. February 12, 2009 6:25 am

    Thanks for sharing that with us – I wish they would broadcast something like that on TV, instead of the junk that’s on there.
    Sadly there is almost no US coverage except locally. There are several documentary film and news crews from many of the other participating countries. I figure if you show the National Spelling Bee on ESPN one would certainly expect this great sporting event to receive coverage. I’d much rather watch these athletes than the overpaid, steroid enhanced whiners we consider professional athletes.

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