Summits for Some – Special Olympics

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Some of my colleagues and I were invited to be guests at a Special Olympics black tie event last night. Now it’s been a while since I last attended such an affair, and it necessitated the husband, J, extracting his tuxedo from his closet – where it is surrounded by all the other suits he similarly doesn’t wear – to make sure said tuxedo still fit. When I told him that the theme for the gala was supposed to be “vintage” and “retro” he pointed out that his tux had been bought in the ’80s and was vintage in its own right.

I had a similar battle of my own finding something to wear that fit the description. But I ultimately settled on a rather Mad Men-esque looking dress last worn about ten years ago. It seemed to work. Especially when accompanied by a martini in one hand. A cigarette would have been perfect, but I don’t smoke.

All this has been while nursing some sore knees this week, topped off with a bizarre injury on Saturday that involved cutting some greenery in my yard in bare feet – pressing the side of my right foot hard into the edge of a paver as I leaned forward to pick up the clipping that had fallen – and ending up with a large purple swollen bruise all over the bottom of my foot.

But all these aches and pains that seem like such cause for concern simply take on a whole new light when you think about those involved in Special Olympics. We sat at a table last night with Central Florida’s Special Olympics’ equestrienne of the year. She’s 36 years old, has two older sisters, and attended with her mother. She’s got Downs’ syndrome. She’s also been a coach and inspiration to others in Special Olympics. The history of Special Olympics – created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver – and in honor of her sister Rosemary Kennedy – should remind us all of those who suffer from intellectual disabilities and how we can help.

Lots of time people don’t want to talk about these issues. It’s easier to talk about those who have physical problems. Somehow that doesn’t challenge us as much. But intellectual challenges are equally significant and we can’t and shouldn’t ignore them.

There are a lot of different summits. I need to remember they don’t all have to be over 18,000 feet.