Our 2017 State Summer Games last weekend were pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself. As is the case with every State Summer Games, I leave in awe of the Special Olympics athletes that compete, as well as extremely grateful for the many volunteers who do everything within their power to make sure the athletes have a great experience. Every once in a while, it works out that I am able to spend some time with the athletes who are there and this year , I was blessed to spend a few memorable minutes with Kenny Rodriguez. His words have stayed with me.
Kenny has very little sight, but he doesn’t let that stand in his way of competing. His coach calls him an “overcomer.” What a great way to describe someone. I was walking with Kenny to the volleyball venue on Sunday morning and casually asked him if he had competed in track the day before. His response was “Yes I did. It was the best day of my life.” My immediate thought was he must have won a gold medal, but his next few words changed my thinking. “It was the best day of my life because while I was doing my race-walk, I heard my name over the loud speaker.”
To me, hearing your name over the loud speaker is like having a race number pinned to your back. It tells everyone you are a competitor. It’s validating, and to Kenny – it was not only meaningful but memorable.
Moments like this for guys like Kenny inspire us to continue to do the work we do. It’s just the best.