There was a story I heard several weeks ago that goes like this:
A few years ago at the seattle special olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100 yard dash.
At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race, to the finish, and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them. One girl with down's syndrome bent down and kissed him and said," this will make it better."
Then all nine linked arms, and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and cheered; the cheering went on for several minutes.
People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down, and changing our course.
I totally loved it! I think that it shows some of the best things that I like about human nature. However, I did my research (something I always try to do when I am not sure of the origins of a story) and found out that it is partially untrue.
One of my favorite rumor busting sites is snopes.com. For the specifics on this story you can go HERE. Suffice it to say that the real story happened back in 1976 at a track and field event in Spokane Washington. One of the runners fell and a couple other runners came back to help him resulting in them all crossing the finish line together. It was only one or two, and not the entire competition. The other kept running their individual races.Although this is not quite as amazing as the original story, I found it just as endearing. I think kindness is something that should be celebrated and talked about. That anyone at all in a group of athletes left their own race to come back and take care of a fallen competitor is absolutely wonderful.
We all have chances to help others and make their lives just a little better. We might not be in a track meet, but we are busy, we are working, we are taking care of our families, we are cooking, we are cleaning, we are doing any number of good things. But every day, I think that we have the opportunity to make someone else's life just a little better.
It might be a simple phone call, or a visit. It might be taking their kids (along with yours) to a dance class, or a school function. It might be small and insignificant. But to someone, it really mattered. I think we can all do great good in our own world by simply being willing to stop our own race and go back to help.
Today, I am trying to be more focused in those areas where I am able to help. I am always willing, sometimes I just don't see the obvious around me.
The Special Olympics oath is: Let me win, but if I can not win, let me be brave in the attempt.