Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Track Meet

This past weekend was another first in the Rush house.

Lily is participating in Special Olympics track and Saturday was our very first official track meet.

Opening Ceremonies Parade

Before I tell you how Lily did, I have to say how impressed I was with the whole event. It was eye-opening and awe-inspiring and lump-in-the-throat inducing. There is something incredibly stirring about seeing a young adult step out of a wheelchair, tightly grip a walker, and at the crack of the start gun, take off in a manner that looks almost physically impossible and cross a finish line 50 meters away. Forget pity and sadness. Try motivating and uplifting. These people are doing hard things every single day. And I won't forget it.

It was also fun! Clapping and cheering. High fives. And don't even get me started on the dancing. So. Much. Dancing. But really - who can help themselves when Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits are being played over the loudspeakers? No one. That's who.

Lily was in two events: the 50 meter run and the softball toss.


Lily likes to do things her own way. She always has and I suspect she always will. She is not motivated to do something just because everyone around her thinks she should. She tends to get around to doing things in her own time.

Running the 50 meter is no different. She has run it several times in practice. She has also walked it a few times. She has hopped it and skipped it and jumped it. She has stayed in her lane. She has run across all the lanes.

So, it's basically a free-for-all, who-knows-how-it's-going-to-go kind of event for Birdie.

Does it matter to her that it's a race? No.

Does it matter to her that there will be a first place winner? No.

Does it matter to her that it is a running competition? No.

So for Bird, there were no butterflies in her stomach before the big race. There was no standing at the starting line, visualizing the run. No rush of adrenaline when the gun sounded.

Instead, last Saturday, this is how Lily decided to do her 50 meters:

I know. I know.

The thrill of competition made it difficult to take your eyes off the screen, right? I mean, it was this close. I was kind of surprised no one asked to see a video replay to determine the winner.

I thought about demanding a re-race because that floppy bow was in her eyes and might have blocked her view of the lane.

But that smile on her face at the end?  Lily was perfectly happy with her "run".  I think it went just like she planned.

On to the softball toss, which Lily has only practiced one time. But today, in the spirit of competition, she threw that ball harder than she ever has. And then started jumping up and down:

Maybe she was starting to catch the Olympic spirit.

Or maybe she just knew she was done and it was time for a cheeseburger.

Sidenote - that woman saying "good job" at the end of the video? Surely that's not me. She sounds a tad bit redneck and I'm much more sophisticated than that. 

So the first ever Special Olympics track meet?

In the words of Frank Sinatra, Lily did it her way.

And that is a-ok with us.

Receiving her first medal


  1. Laughter through tears IS my favorite emotion!!! This post brought both!! (and btw- video always distorts peoples voices with a southerly slant I hear!)
    Love you, my friend and so proud of YOU and RYAN too!!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And yes, Lily CLEARLY won. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! This post reminds me of Tess's Special Olympics "race" with her sister pushing her in her wheelchair. They won the first race by a mile and then Ellie & Tess took a dive on the second race so that the other little girl could experience the trill of victory. Somehow, in the confusion, Tess got two second place ribbons and while I had to forcibly restrain myself from demanding that blue ribbon (because you know, it wasn't about WINNING-I am sick, I tell ya), Ellie trotted right into the awards tent and explained that her little sister had earned that blue ribbon, not two red ribbons. Ah, sisterly love. (and yes, they did give her that blue ribbon) ;)

    1. I LOVE this story! And I choose to believe this is just another way in which you were (and sweet Ellie) were being advocates for Tessie, right? Right! :)

  3. How wonderful to see Lily! This made me smile from ear to ear. :)
    We think of her often and sometimes, half expect her to walk through our classroom door.
    Well done, Lily!!!

  4. Good post, kids should actively participate in such events it increases their confidence level. Kids seems to have fun and enjoyed it. Congratulations to them for standing out in competition

  5. Congratulations Lily! For participating in the race and winning your medal. You are a brave child always work like this and enjoy your victories inlife. Well done girl..


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