I love watching our athletes compete. There are a few performances over the years that have for whatever the reason, stayed in my memory. I am pleased to share that last weekend, I witnessed one that is ranking right up there as one of my all-time favorites.
Allison and Emily Roberts are sisters, who competed as a Unified Team in our State Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition. Allison is a Special Olympics athlete and is four years older than Emily. Emily is a competitive dancer, and from the moment these two gracefully walked to the center of the mat, I knew we were all in for a treat.
I have watched Allison compete in Rhythmic Gymnastics for three years and always had the feeling that being “center-stage” was hard for her. She was a good little athlete, but timid. This year, however, Allison had “swagger.” And in my opinion, it’s because she loved having her sister at her side.
Emily brought out an Allison I had not seen before. Interestingly, as a competitive dancer whose focus lies in beating the opposition and being the best – Allison gave Emily a friendly experience within the joy of sport that she had not had before. Together on that mat, they were in-sync, in-touch, and involved in each other.
As I watched their every move performing routines using the hoop, ribbon, ball, and rope – it’s hard to describe exactly what it is that I saw. However, I can tell you this – it was beautiful – it was unconditional – it was Special Olympics.