There’s always a lot to take in at our State Summer Games, but much of it doesn’t really sink in until weeks after the Games are over. This year my lingering Thoughts have been largely wrapped around the Opening Ceremonies. They felt different to me this year, and after listening to many who were there – they felt different to a lot of people. Putting a finger on that difference took awhile, but a Board member nailed it when he said it was the CONTENT that made this year’s Opening Ceremonies different.
Our Opening Ceremonies is much the same year after year, but this year there were two messages that affected all of us in a deeper and more thoughtful way. These messages continue to replay in my mind. 1) Rebecca Latham, Cabinet Secretary of New Mexico Tourism, announced that the $300,000 contract with the Department of Health we lost in 2017 would be re-instated in July of 2018 under Tourism’s NEW MEXICO TRUE. What a celebration her announcement was and what an impact it will have on our organization in the coming year. We are unbelievably grateful. 2) Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics. As I shared Mrs. Shriver’s powerful words of long ago, all I could think about was the millions and millions of lives that have been significantly changed through the meaningful relationships formed because of the Special Olympics movement. Mrs. Shriver’s vision has touched the entire world, with the Special Olympics movement growing from 1000 athletes in 1968 to over 5 MILLION athletes from around the world today.
As we honored two of our own Special Olympics athletes that night for competing in the very first Special Olympics New Mexico Games, my heart broke for what people with intellectual disabilities endured back then. At the same time, my heart was full as I looked at the joy in these two athlete’s faces and then out into the stadium bleachers at the faces of our athletes of today.
We celebrated the past and present at our 2018 Opening Ceremonies and should you be reading these Thoughts now, it is my hope that you feel compelled to join us in some way in making sure a world of true acceptance, inclusion and belonging is what Special Olympics will celebrate throughout the next 50 years!