When the Olympics were in Salt Lake City I lived in Pocatello. Only a three hour drive and to this day I kick myself that I didn’t drive down just to be a part of something so great. So I really wanted to participate somehow in the Special Olympics World Winter Games here in Boise.

My parents hosted a couple of athletes from El Salvador (I’ll have to post a picture of them later) and so they received tickets to the Opening Ceremonies. (I would have cropped out the guys in the background but to me they are just another testament of the joy and friendship in the atmosphere.)

Oh man. What an experience. It was AWESOME. And I mean that in the way the word AWESOME was formerly used. I was full of AWE. No one was thinking about enemies, war, politics or economy. These were 2,500 of the most exuberant and happy individuals I have ever seen and they came from 100 countries.

One hundred countries.

Oh it gives me chills.

The world gathered together yesterday in Nampa. I love it when the world feels small. And yesterday it felt like thousands of people from the four corners of the Earth all had something in common. Even though we were are all so different, we all had something in common. It was a feeling of unity that transcended language, race, religion, gender and physical and mental capabilities.

Not the least of the things we had in common was that we all wore a blue and white scarf. Knitted or crocheted by hand, there were 55,000 scarves. The story of the scarves brought the crowd to tears, but I’m not going to write it here. In fact, I can’t even choose just one article to link because there are so many moving stories. If you have the chance, google “special olympic scarf project.” It will inspire you as you read about the goodness of people.

One of the highlights of the event was when a local band played a cover of “HOT, HOT, HOT”. The enthusiasm of the athletes was contagious and my mom and I were somewhere between laughing and crying at the sight. I spent a good portion of the event being choked up. All my life I’ll never forget that three hours and the way I felt.

4 thoughts on “unity

  1. Amazing! I’m so glad you got this opportunity Jo. I was living in Provo during the Salt Lake Olympics and got to attend a couple of the Park City events. You’re right, it’s amazing to watch people from all over the earth come together in such an amazing spirit of unity. P.s. I’m sure you get told this all the time, but you have one of the most beautiful, contagious smiles I have ever seen! In this picture of you with your mom I can see where you got it from!


  2. My parents hosted a couple of athletes from Quebec (they only spoke French) and said it was an amazing experience as well. In fact, my Mom even said it was probably one of the best in her life. I’m sure your feelings are much like hers, that you felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude from everybody involved. I wish I could have been there!


  3. That’s so exciting! My mom sang with the choir or ensemble that performed. I haven’t heard her report yet, but I’m sure it was amazing. Having a special needs sister, I have tears just thinking about this great event. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. I’ll check into the scarf story.


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