Of all the things that happen during our State Summer Games, one of my favorites is the Opening Ceremonies. I love watching all 900 athletes march into the stadium, proudly representing their communities, their teams, and their families. I love watching the Knights of Columbus reverently bring in the flags and the silence that falls over everyone right before we honor our country. I love listening to the athletes chosen to recite the Special Olympics oath in English, Spanish, and Navajo. And I love the excitement of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg, as the officers and their families run into the stadium carrying our torch.
One thing that always amazes me about our Opening Ceremonies is the chemistry that evolves between our two Masters of Ceremonies – Tim Harris and Jamie Imai. Weeks ahead of the Games we create a script, and go over it together. We decide who will say what and when. Can I just say that when the night finally arrives and these two stand before the crowd – real life happens as the two of them take off like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Totally unscripted, they say things that are funny and meaningful and representative of who they are every day of their lives.
To close out the night both Tim and Jamie decided that in line with this year’s Summer Games theme, “Dreams Made Here,” they would share their own dreams. Tim spoke of his dream that came true – owning his own restaurant. Jamie shared his dream that has almost come true, to be a black belt martial arts student. In his own unique fashion, Jamie then walked towards the audience with microphone in hand. “My dream for every athlete who is here this weekend is to have fun, make friends, and of course, win a medal or two. Thank you all for coming, and if you are driving home tonight – don’t forget your car.”
Unscripted moments in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities are waiting to happen. They may not be in front of thousands of people, or involve a microphone, but if given the chance – those moments will happen and will be a blessing. Thank you Tim and Jamie. You were awesome.