I attended an event hosted by World TEAM Sports at Boston University last weekend, where kids of differing races, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, and physical abilities, joined together to play wheelchair basketball, indoor soccer, and golf (learning from a golf pro who had only one arm). They also heard from a one-legged Iraq war veteran describe losing his leg when his vehicle was struck by an IED, but then how he began to press on with the business of life.
As a board member of World TEAM Sports (which serves disabled athletes), I saw first hand how inspiring it was to see a little girl afflicted by multiple sclerosis with braces and crutches, swing her legs around, trying to get to get her feet on the soccer ball - and how none of the kids gave her a break, treating her like a real kid. She hustled as fast as she could, leg braces flying with a grin that stretched from ear to ear. Another little girl, a redhead missing most of her left arm, doggedly fought her way up to the top of the indoor climbing wall, a task all the more inspiring as many of the able-bodied kids her age were unable to get to the top. Kids heckled and cheered each other on, with teams which mixed suburban wealthy kids with inner city kids, blue eyes with brown eyes, different languages and skin color and physical abilities - and it occurred to me how wonderful and remarkable this event was, not just for the disabled children, but for my own children as well.
My good friend Sandy Kendall, a world champion in the sport of rowing, good-naturedly volunteered for the event - and her blog can be found here.