I am just ashamed that it took me 31 years and having my own child with special needs to get involved with the Special Olympics. You know, I really have considered it several times before, but it took all these years and personal experience to light the fire under my ass. I have to tell you, seeing the torch being carried, watching how excited the athletes were, cheering, yelling, waving our foam fingers...it felt so good! I can't believe I forgot my camera!!!!!
Not only did we get to cheer on the athletes at the Opening Ceremonies, but beforehand we got to enjoy a carnival (with spin art, cotton candy, dunk tank, strong man etc...all for FREE) with free food to boot. There was a large police presence and according to the announcer the Maryland Police are the largest financial contributers to the Special Olympics in the entire world! The squads marched and ran in and cheered and chanted. It was a lot of fun. Georgia was alternately excited and petrified and even clapped in a lot of the right places.
And, to tell you the truth, there was something amazing about seeing so many people with Down syndrome in one place! The Special Olympics is for everyone with various special needs, but it is by far the most people in one place I have ever seen who have Down syndrome. It was pretty incredible.
We had to leave early because the noise was a bit much for Georgia, but we got through all the athletes making their entrances before we left. I am really looking forward to Sunday when I go back as a volunteer.
Do yourselves a favor and consider getting involved in your area! I really think you'll enjoy it.