You know when you’re at a baseball game and they start clapping real slow, and then it speeds and speeds until everyone is on their feet clapping and cheering? The bases are loaded, and the home team needs to get out of this inning, and fast. Two outs, one left to keep the game moving in their favor. Do you feel that thrill rise inside you as the crowd stands to rally the team?

Okay, take that feeling and multiply it by 50. Then move yourself from the baseball stadium to the observation stands of the aquatic center. It’s 93 degrees and the humidity from the pool’s enough to make you immediately and unquenchably thirsty. But you don’t care; you’re there watching Special Olympics athletes compete. And the crowd starts cheering. And whistling. And yelling. And clapping.

And that lump in your throat. It grows and refuses to be ignored.

Because they’re not cheering for star athlete or tight race. They’re cheering for that last athlete still in the water, a lap or two behind, but never giving up. Because it matters that they finish. That they do their best and have fun.

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

Nobody loses at Special Olympics. Sure, some get medals, some get ribbons, and some get to finish. But nobody truly loses. And everyone’s cheering for everyone else. Just as it should be.

They get it; we have a lot to learn.

Oh, and that lump? Yeah, it will grow too big for your throat and have to come out your eyes at some point. Let it.


Monday Mugs is where I tell the stories behind my coffee mugs. Each one holds a story (and coffee, of course) of somewhere I’ve been or something I’ve seen. The photos are my actual mugs, not lookalikes found online. So grab one of your own mugs (fill it with coffee first) and hear the stories of mine. And don’t forget the cream and sugar.

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