The other day one of our athletes shared a “1 year ago – See Your Memories” post on Facebook that said: “Hockey practice today did feel amazing. It is awesome to be with my team again.” That was posted in January 2020, and under the memory post he wrote “I do miss my life. I do.”
The longer we’ve been apart from our Special Olympics athletes and friends, I have been feeling like I do miss my life, too. Special Olympics has given me really good friends, a much fuller and more meaningful life, and a greater love not just for some people, but for all people.
My thoughts today are driven by how much I miss in-person connection at Special Olympics, and how I look forward to when SONM can return to play in the future. There are days I miss being with our athletes at our Games so much I could just scream. There are days that I do scream. On the days that I feel I just can’t cope with not being together one minute longer, rather than try to bury my emotions, I find myself doing one of two things. I pull out photos of past Special Olympics competitions and take time to not just look at them, but STUDY them. I start to notice things in those photos I may never have noticed before, and it doesn’t take long for my heart to feel good again. If I’m not looking at photos, I make time to text an athlete, direct message an athlete on Facebook, or better yet, I call an athlete. Their voice alone does the trick and within a matter of minutes I am laughing, and I am thankful.
Remembering the joy at Special Olympics Games pre-covid helps put my mind at ease, and gives me hope for in-person return to play at SONM in the future. As you look at the slideshow photos from past SONM competitions, I hope they bring you joy and hope.