Thursday, August 13, 2009

You've Got To Move It Move It

Eunice Kennedy Shriver understood this. In the early 1960s, she and her husband, Sargent, began to hold a series of day camps in their backyard in order to meet the physical fitness needs of mentally retarded children and adults. It was the beginning of what would eventually become a world wide physical fitness movement known as the Special Olympics, which today encompasses over 180 countries and three million-plus athletes aged eight to eighty. Every athlete who participates receives free training, coaching, and support to compete in 26 Olympic style sporting events. In the U.S. alone, over 500,000 volunteers and 250,000 coaches devote their time and energy to 54 chapters.

A few years back, I had the honor of writing a lead story for a now defunct local publication on New Mexico's Special Olympics program. During my research and interviews, I was awestruck by the dedication of hundreds of volunteers who help athletes of all abilities do what the human body was designed to do: find joy through movement.

Thanks, Eunice, for understanding this, and for your organization's motto, that we should all keep first and foremost in our brains as we go about our daily lives: "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

Eunice was laid to rest today, after 88 years of service to her causes. May she rest in peace eternally.


chickory said...

volunteering is a good thing. and good bye to Eunice.
that would be a good name for a hen btw.

les paul died today.

Jenny said...

Peace Out, Eunice Shriver. You left an amazing legacy.

Les Paul - now THAT was a man.

Bretthead said...

The rare post where I see no appropriate opportunity to be light and or obnoxious. Nice job.

moi said...

Chicory: Gosh, I didn't even know Les Paul was still alive. Major bummer that he's gone.

Boxer: As more and more totally cool people die off from this planet, I am left wondering: who of similar worth is left?

WTWA: I try to balance out any snarkified commentary aimed at the dumbassedness of this world by an equal if not greater effort to mine what is truly worthy of awe. The veins are thin, but they're there.

Gnomeself Be True said...

Well, I could say some general comment about Kennedys and one good one showing up once in a while...but that seems churlish in light of Eunice's passing.

As the parent of a special needs kid, I will say we could use a hell of a lot more like her.

Heff said...

Better people than me. Better people than me.

Doris Rose said...

Thank you, very nicely done.There are still a few nuggets of grace and generosity.

Pam said...

Now this was a true, true calling that this woman had. Wonderful post.

h said...

Who are you and what have you done with Moi?

moi said...

Gnome: Yeah, there's always a good apple in the rotten bunch.

Heff: No such thing as better. Just "different" :o).

Doris Rose: I'd prefer boulders, but I'll take nuggets.

Pam: Amazing how some folks just bear down and get stuff done, huh?

Troll: Bwahahahahahaha! But don't be gettin' any ideas about me going soft on Crocs, mandals, or rap music. No sir.

Aunty Belle said...

What a dear tribute. Very fine Moi.

fishy said...

Kudos to Eunice and those who followed her. I had a friend recruit me one year as a Special Olympics volunteer and I never did it again.

Kudos to you for writing respect for a life well spent.