The summer months are always a nice time to get out and explore. School is out and most families are away on a summer vacation. That means a slow time for drumming up business, and allows me to sit back and think about what projects I’m going to do for the fall.
At the beginning of the month (during the July 4th long weekend) we did a ‘staycation’ in Palm Springs – rejuvenating and golf being the primary objectives here.
Upon returning in full mental and physical health (not to mention a darker tan), I received a text message asking if I wanted to volunteer at the Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games. My answer was a definite YES.
Why do you ask?
Well, I knew this would be a door opener to an exciting summer. I worked at Montreal summer olympics in 1976 and carried the torch for the Calgary Olympics in 1988. Plus I’ve been shifting my focus to being more involved at the grass-roots level, specifically towards community events and autism. Thus, the World Games was something I really wanted to get involved in.
Being able to volunteer at an event of this magnitude in California is indescribable. Only the 1984 LA Olympics come close. But regardless of where these games are held, if anyone has an opportunity to work in this type of venue, they should do it with no hesitation.
FYI – They are looking for volunteers at the 2017 Winter Special Olympic World Games in Austria.
I was fortunate enough to work directly with the delegates and athletes. Their hearts are so sincere and open. For example, when the athletes run down the track in a 100m final and one person falls, the others stop, turn around, and help their teammate cross the finish line. To see and experience this is truly something.
I feel that most sporting events have been plagued by politics, money, and media presidiums. After all, it is a multibillion dollar industry and some ‘professional’ athletes feel pressured to win a medal for their country. In Special Olympics, everybody wins something – a medal or a ribbon. Everyone comes away as a winner. Not just the athletes, but everyone that is directly involved. Plus, I feel that the overall spirit at these games is more genuine and passionate than any event I have attended in the past.
All in all, participating in the World Games was truly an eye opener that makes you really question yourself as to what is important in life. This helped me to tweak my future goals and to put priorities related to helping people higher on the list.