Friday, March 27, 2009

Be A Fan!

In February Boise had the amazing opportunity of hosting the 2008 World Special Olympics. Our family was able to participate in a small way by hosting an athlete and her coach from Kazastan. It was a great experience for all of us, we can't wait for the next opportunity we have to participate with the Special Olympics. Natalya and Ayim along with the rest of the athletes and coaches from their country arrived in Boise late Wednesday night a few days before the Olympics began. I was able to go to the check in to pick them up. I thought I was all prepared with my little signs that had their names on them, but as I drove there I started to worry about not being able to communicate with them since I knew they wouldn't speak English and we had a lot of places they needed to get to through out the next few days. Well once I got to the check in I wasn't nervous about it at all because I found myself surrounded by truly amazing people. I'm talking about the kind of people that don't need to speak your language because they are so good and pure and sweet, they all just radiated love. When a group would get off a bus and walk in they would announce what country they were from and everyone there would stand up and clap and cheer. The athletes were ecstatic, they waved and gave high fives like they had already won the gold. I will never forget that night, it was so motivating and inspiring for me to be in the midst of so many people who have what we call disabilities, yet they represent everything that is good in humanity. I realized that I am really the disabled one, disabled by my pride and inability to always find the good in everyone and everything. Anyway it was a fantastic night and a great introduction to Special Olympics for me, and that was all before the games even began!
Of course my pictures are all scrambled again so I'll explain as I go. The first four are from the Opening Ceremony that was held on Saturday at the Idaho Center. There were around 2,500 athletes from 100 countires plus their coaches and translators. It was quite a big group! Below are the athletes from Peru walking in, Brady was so excited to see them! See their cute little Peruvian hats? The Opening Ceremony was great, lots of music and dancing. Many of the performers were artisits with intellectual disabilities whose talent was super impressive and inspiring! My favorite part was when the athletes recited the Special Olympics oath:
Let me win. But if I cannnot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

We got to take our group from Kazastan to the Boise State football stadium for a little tour. This kid was so funny, he grabbed my arm and brought me through the front office so I could take his picture next to this football trophy...doesn't he look proud?

For some reason the boys in the group really loved getting their picture taken by anyone and everyone, they would pose in front of everything!

Another Opening Ceremony pic
We spent quite a long time out on the field, Brynlee entertained herself by running around the white lines on the Bronco head.

The athletes loved Nash. I bet he got a thousand extra kisses that week! There was only one athlete in the Kazastan group that could speak a little english, but they all knew how to say "Special Olympics" and "t-honk you". A lot of them would come up to me and point to Nash and say "Special." Brady and I can't wait to see what Special Olympic events Nash will want to participate in.
The girl on the left in the picture below was probably responsible for 500 of those extra kisses Nash got. Every time she saw us she would make a bee line straight for Nash and kiss his little cheeks until the coaches would get after her. She is a little sweet heart!
Line dancing at the Hoe Down that we had for them. Natalya was pretty good!
"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." -Pierre de CoubertinAyim who stayed with us is the one waving.
Even brave little Brynlee got to try out the bucking bull. The boys had a blast riding the bull, don't know why I didn't get any pictures of them. Maybe because I was praying the whole time that none of them would get seriously injured...prayer was answered whew, but I'm sure some of them were sore!Jill and Bryn Saying good-bye to Natalya and Ayim when we dropped them off so they could go to Sun Valley for their event, cross country skiing. We didn't get to go to the events in Sun Valley so we just had to keep up via the news and the web. Also one of the other host families was able to go to Sun Valley, so they called and let us know how it was going! Thanks Jones family! Ayim took the silver in her race! Way to go Ayim!Font sizeVisit and be a fan!

One more cute little story, Brynlee was so excited that we were having special guests come stay. She was sleeping by the time we got home so on Thursday morning she got up early and couldn't wait for our guests to get up so she could meet them. We let Ayim and Natalya sleep in since they had just had an 18 hour flight the day before, when they finally did get up, they had Brynlee reved up and ready meet them. She talked to them non-stop during breakfast which I think was a little overwhelming to them at first, since they weren't understanding a thing she said but she was so excited I couldn't stop her. When Natalya finished her breakfast and realized that Brynlee wasn't going to stop chatting any time soon, she started talking back to Brynlee in Russian. Brynlee thought that was just fantastic, they had a good long converstation over each of Brynlee's coloring books. After they had talked and looked at pictures for 20 minutes, Brynlee looked up at me and said, "Mom, these guys don't know how to talk yet, their just like Nashie."

1 comment:

KIRSTEN said...

Oh my gosh Andrea, what an amazing experience. I can't wait to see pictures of Nash when he is old enough to participate. I can tell how great of parents you and Brady are, by the stories you tell of your kids and the cute things they do!