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Special Olympics 2012

Logan and Sean were part of Ben's cheering section.
Today, Ben participated for the first time as an athlete in our county's Special Olympics. For 29 years, these games have been held at a local private school. They shut the school down for three days and the high school students serve as the hosts and buddies for this event.

Probably the best thing I saw this year was the athletes running toward the finish line, but slowing down to take in all the cheering from the crowd. These athletes will remember the clapping, yelling and support - reminding us all that the gold, silver and bronze medals hold little next to a roaring crowd that is there just for you.

For Ben, the Special Olympics is like Old Home Week. He saw past classmates, teachers, assistants and physical therapists. Every time I turned around he was in the midst of a huge hug. Ben enjoyed the excitement and energy of the event.

Emotions run high for me at an event like this. Mostly my tears come from pride for the athletes and for what they accomplish each day. The determination in their eyes and smiles on their face would melt an iceberg.  There is a lot of love surrounding those fields as the volunteers, coaches and teachers work to make something like this happen.

I could not suppress my sadness when I saw Ben O. He is Donna's son - I spoke to him and reminded him he went to school with Ben many years ago. That hurt is still raw for me and I have not worked out the emotions I feel about Ben losing his mom.

Our county Special Olympics is a chaotic, exciting and busy ordeal. Over the years, the planners have developed a way to be flexible with the schedule, the athletes and events. It works for this group - gets the job done and keeps the real focus in mind - the heart. Whether you are out there running in a race or clapping for the athletes, you are certainly working it.

Remember Where's Waldo? This is Where's Ben?

This is a 100m Race. (Ben is not in this race.)

Ready, Set, Go!
See his determination. He did an awesome job of going straight toward the finish line.
Ben took the Silver Medal!

Ben with his buddies - it took three to keep Ben in check!


  1. Vanessa, Thank you for sending your comments to Country Day which were sent on to me; I have been fortunate to have been involved with the hosting of the Spring Games here since the very beginning. It is such an honor for our school and a privilege for our students to have this opportunity to interact with the athletes. I particularly remember Ben as I was so impressed and touched by his spirit and drive ; I was also touched by Libby, his CCDS buddy. Thank you for sharing your son with Country Day; we are a better school for it. David Ball


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