Sports have been a part in my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up with a divorced family from the second I was born so sporting events were one thing that always brought both sides of my family together. When I was only six years old, my mom signed me up for my first soccer session. I played soccer from when I was five years old all the way up through my senior year of high school. I then started playing basketball in the fifth grade and always played that all the way though senior year. I played baseball for about four years and gave football a try once as a freshman in high school. Even though I played sports my whole life, I never really knew what it meant to be fortunate enough to partake in athletic events until the spring of my senior year.
Many of my friends through high school were a part of National Honor Society. I, however, was not. Due to being a part of NHS, they are required to do some sort of project before they graduated. My friends couldn’t think of anything so they came to me but I was clueless. We all went and talk to our gym teacher and he came up with the idea of holding a “Special Ed Field Day” at our school. They loved that idea and they asked me to be a part of this project. When hearing this idea, never did I imagine how big on an event this was about to be.
I won’t bore you with all the planning that went into this but we worked for many hours trying to get sponsors to donate money as well as contacting different schools in the area to attend our field day. We ended up having 13 schools commit to our event which totaled 81 participants. We were ecstatic but also nervous for how big this got.
All the schools arrived around 8:45 on a beautiful Friday morning in May. We had all different events set up such as 100-meter dash, little hurdles, football throw, and much more. All day long there was nothing but smiles on all the participants faces. I couldn’t believe how much of a success the entire day was so far. At the end of the day, we set up a podium for kids to walk up and we would hand them a medal for coming. We had someone over a loud speaker call the kids name individually, one by one, to receive their medals.
My three friends and I were the ones handing out the medals. It was now my turn to give out a medal to one of the kids. He came sprinting up to the podium with one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen. I put the medal around his neck and he gave me a huge hug. He then looked up at me and said, “I’ve never been a winner before.” I had to work so hard to hold back the tears. That one comment is what made that event so special and is why I will never forget that day.
What many people don’t realize is how fortunate they are. People take their ability to participant in sports for granted. They shouldn’t. There are so many kids out there that would give everything they had to be able to play sports. Personally, I look back to my high school career in sports and realize how selfish I was. I would complain about having to run during practice or do stupid drills when there are kids out there that dream about being able to dribble a basketball or shoot a soccer ball.