Something I do a lot is try and help out wherever I can. Special Olympics is an organization that always needs help. So about 6 or 7 years ago I went out of my way to help wherever and whenever I could. A few months ago at their annual fall festival, I was doing my part (I was helping the Olympic games on the volleyball courts).
Now the Special Olympics are for warriors to win medals and compete with intellectual disabilities of some kind. When I’m there, I’m inspired. There’s no excuse to not hit the gym or play a sport or do something physically. Any excuse I may make is nonsense because these athletes are doing amazing things, they do their best and they try their hardest.
Now normally that would just be something I’d just do and shut up about it. On the last function, there was an athlete there in her 20’s or maybe 30’s, I was talking with the coaches and athletes and the coach told me this story about this young lady.
She wasn’t born with any intellectual disabilities, she was born and grew up without them, until high school. She attended a swanky high school (I was told the name of it but won’t mention it here) big tuitions are involved and “prestige” is attached to the name of it. So this young lady was just doing normal high school things, classes, activities whatever and for whatever reason…she started to get picked on, and picked on, and picked on. She was picked on and bullied relentlessly, until one day, her lights went out. She didn’t speak or acknowledge anyone or anything for 5 years. After 5 years she emerged, but was dealing with a severe case of schizophrenia after that. She was never the same.
This broke my heart. I watched her as she sat on the sidelines (she has an attack many times a day where she just would sit, you couldn’t tell there was anything going on with her, her attacks were all internalized) so she wasn’t able to compete in the games. This is her life now. This wasn’t a disability she was born with, this was something that happened to her because of cruelty, because of meanness. Now this, is of course where assho-- um, "cynics" may say “well who knows what her state may have been to begin with before the bullying” but wouldn’t that be the same situation for any of us? Who knows what anyone is dealing with on a daily basis. Who knows how long, we or anyone can be pushed before maybe something like that could happen to any of us? So it was a reminder to me, to remember to be a little nicer to folks, because I don’t know what they may be dealing with or what sort of struggle in their life they may be dealing with. (Side note to any bullies reading this, "SUCK LESS. Thanks"-ed)
So after that, I wanted to do more. I wanted to raise a little funds and awareness, and what I’ll be doing this Sunday in a mystical magical place called “Delaware” is jumping into the icy Atlantic Ocean for the annual Special Olympics “Polar Bear Plunge”. I have no idea what to expect, I was told that I'll likely look silly and the sand is something no one sees coming, it’s just icy icy cold. It’s all good, I’m belly flopping into it. It’s the least I can do. Maybe the great Otis Redding was right, maybe it’s a good thing to “try a little tenderness”.
Stay tuned, I’m sure there’ll be a picture of all of this coming, so, to be continued....
Take care and be good,