Special Olympics is all about creating new possibilities for any person who walks onto our playing fields. We spend a lot of time trying to articulate what those opportunities bring to the lives of our Special Olympics athletes. Today however, I want to share with you words I received in a card from Marla Wood, a friend of our organization who raised money to support our athletes by going Over the Edge.
“Dear Randy. I’ve been thinking for a few weeks just what it is I have to say about going Over the Edge. When you were telling me about the event a month ago, I was so excited and raring to go! And as Bruce and his office got geared up and shaved off, I started getting fidgety. On the balcony of Meyners and Company with you sharing stories of Media Day, and me looking down a mere eight stories, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I felt the rumblings of fear, the voices of doubt, and finally, on that Friday morning, the rush of fight or flight adrenaline. I was terrified – and excited – and so afraid – less of hurting myself and more of embarrassing myself with cowardice.
But I did it. With all of those smiling faces and words of encouragement and statements of surety from so many volunteers – I did it! I made it to the ground and people unbuckled me and unradio’ed me, while people I’ve never met yelled and clapped for me. And then the sweetest soul put a gold medal around my neck. What a moment.
It took about 15 minutes of wandering around, thanking folks, trying to focus, and then watching Francie come down that wall – and I couldn’t stop the tears. I sat on the curb and cried. There are people for whom this sort of feat might be no big deal, but it was for me. Just like running and swimming and jumping might be a minimal event for me, it is a monumental accomplishment for those who find challenge there. So, thank you. To all of the volunteers – from the folks storing my stuff in a bag, to the guys buckling me in, to the fellow on the roof holding my sunglasses – thank you. Thank you for this new clarity of thought on just what courage means.”