Definitely Something Special

I love my community and I love my city, Worcester.  Although
there are times I complain how the city goes about things, it’s still my home
and I will promote it anyway I can.  Since the age of 16 I have
volunteered and worked in many youth programs in Worcester.  I have
coached Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball.  I currently coach High
School girls’ basketball.  I used to run an AAU program for inner city
girls and I currently help run a local Babe Ruth League.  But all that
pales in comparison to the volunteering I did last weekend that makes me smile
every time I do it.

Each year I
volunteer a couple of hours of my time as a basketball official for The Special
Olympics.  I don’t know what it is but watching those young adults play
brings a smile to my face.  They are extremely competitive, they say the
funniest things, and watching them celebrate after making a basket could make
the hardest man smile.  It is honestly one of the best days of my year.
 I grin ear to ear the whole time I am there and the players treat me with
the utmost respect by giving me unsolicited high fives and hugs.
As I was
refereeing the game and feeling really good about what I was doing I started to
watch the coaches of these teams.  As a basketball coach I sometimes have
a hard time getting my players to follow the easiest of tasks.  I couldn’t
begin to fathom what these coaches must do to get these athletes to comprehend.
 They must have extreme patience and I truly commend them for that.
 My partner for the game was a player I used to coach a few years back and
we would chat at halftime and talk about how much fun we were having.  All
I could think about was these great coaches and what their practices are like.
My favorite part
of the day was when one of the athletes was about to inbound the ball and he
looked at me and asked “Am I doing good?”  I could do nothing
but smile at him, as the family members of his teammates got a good chuckle.
 I responded to him by giving him a high five and saying “You’re
doing awesome”, because he was.  That boy went down the court and
scored one of the few baskets that were scored in the game and you would have
thought he just won the NBA Championship.  He ran back on defense faced
his bench and bowed to them as if he were Keith Lockhart.  I applauded the
action and nobody seemed to care.
I recently read a
book about a former AAU Basketball in California that exploited and put his
players under so much pressure that they were destined to fail.  He
eventually parlayed that experience to start a nationwide camp and makes
millions of dollars each year, and then he left the kids high and dry.
 You will never see that scenario with these coaches.  They have big
hearts and tremendous patience; they are truly role models in every sense of
the word.  I am sure the parents of these athletes are grateful for these coaches;
I just want them to know that I am grateful as well, not that means much of
So, if you ever
have the opportunity to go to, or volunteer at, The Special Olympics I highly
recommend you do so.  Rooting for all these athletes, especially the
coaches, is best things I have ever done.
If you don’t take
it from, ask my wife.

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