JC Special Olympics athlete finds meaning in sport, organization
- Article Source
Ruess, B. (2015, September 27). JC Special Olympics athlete finds meaning in sport, organization. Retrieved October 5, 2015, from http://www.newstribune.com/news/2015/sep/27/jc-special-olympics-athlete-finds-meaning-sport-or/
- Article Topic
Special populations in sport
This article was a feature story about a 34-year-old Special Olympics athlete named Derek Sandbothe. Sandbothe is a disabled man, but does not led his disability hinder his love for the game of softball. Before graduating high school and going to work at Capital Projects (a sheltered workshop for disabled adults), Sandbothe never really had had the opportunity to play sports. According to the article, “In Special Olympics, Sandbothe said he finally found a place where he was not only accepted for who he is, but embraced.”
“Special Olympics has given me a reason to live, to be honest with you,” he said. “When I was in school, I was never really accepted, but I’m just glad that’s over and that I can actually have something to hold onto that has been a part of my life for a long time. … and now, I’m at such a level in Special Olympics that not only am I competing in sports, but I’m also volunteering and helping others. I’m learning leadership skills.”
The issue presented in this article is about acceptance of people with disabilities and the ability to include everyone, regardless of skill, in sports. In this course, we often discussed (especially in Week 5) about how special populations can be included in sports and of the various resources available. One common place for this great community building involvement to occur is through the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics are an organization that is special to me because I am someone with a big heart who enjoys seeing smiles on faces. Having participated in volunteer work with the Special Olympics while as a member of my college softball team, I have seen firsthand the positive impact an organization like this one can have on the lives of the participants. This feature story was a heart-warming reminder of the good work people in our society are doing to better the lives of others. At the end of the day, sports are competitive, but they also have the amazing power to bring people together and help embrace social differences and provide the support of a team.
- World Impact (if applicable)
The Special Olympics and other organizations that provide opportunities for people with disabilities to partner with other people to achieve a common goal of playing organized sports is something that holds great power. This story should serve as a reminder to us all that people are people, and sports can bring people together and create a new generation of leaders who feel empowered by the connections they make on and off the court.