The first time I saw our theme in print I was drawn to the word WITH, which according to one definition means “in opposition to against.” Here’s how I see that. Under the banner of these State Summer Games, Special Olympics New Mexico will offer competition in Unified Soccer, Unified Bocce, Unified Volleyball, Unified Track Relays, and Unified Rhythmic Gymnastics. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept – unified sports partners Special Olympics athletes with nondisabled athletes, as they train and compete together on the same team.
Playing on a team WITH athletes who have intellectual disabilities teaches us to replace our fears with a safe sense of belonging. When we choose to live in that space – we grow and experience life in ways that feed our soul. Special Olympics athletes have a unique ability to create those safe places for us in ways that as nondisabled people, we simply can not.
I invite you to experience Summer Games WITH us. Whether you know it or not – you belong there.