It’s that time again. The NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament is here. If you are not a college basketball fan, you will have a hard time escaping conversations around bracketology, 5 vs.12 seeds, and all of the hooplah around the 68 teams participating in what is affectionately known as March Madness. Like a million others, I am drawn to this tournament not only because I love watching basketball, but more than that, I love watching the teams, analyzing the teams, cheering for the teams, and being connected to those teams I hold dear to my heart. This morning I had the pleasure of talking to Special Olympics New Mexico’s Area 6 Director, Janie Lee Hall, who during the course of our conversation shared with me her perspective about teams – more specifically Special Olympics teams, which I am now pleased to share with you.
“For people with intellectual disabilities, simply having the opportunity to be on a team is BIG. It teaches them incredibly valuable lessons that translate into their daily life. Probably one of my favorites is watching them learn when to be the star, when to pass to someone else, and the importance of being ready the moment someone needs them to receive a pass. Our athletes need to experience what it feels like to have other people depend on them. Special Olympics teams teach all of us the value of helping each other get better, so the entire team can get better. For me, being able to watch that happen in the lives of our athletes is magical.”
I’m thinking there are 68 intercollegiate men’s basketball coaches right now that would absolutely agree with Janie. March Magical?