Special Olympics: One of the wonderful events that make us thankful for our community

Hundreds of local athletes showed up at Darlington School’s campus to participate in the 2019 Special Olympics.

As friends and classmates streaked down the track together this past Thursday, it’s the camaraderie and not the competition that makes the Special Olympics a great example of togetherness.

There’s a lot of good to be found in competition but there’s also a lot to be said for a day when there are no teams and no favorites. When you see all the runners stop to help a person who tripped — as you sometimes see in the Special Olympics — it’s proof that everyone there is on the same team.

We all have the dream of hitting that winning shot, making the game deciding touchdown or crossing the finish line first and having the crowd go wild.

This is their day and the crowd goes wild for everyone involved.

On a national note it was good to see President Trump restore proposed cuts by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to the Special Olympics. The public uproar over cutting millions of dollars from the organization was quick and decisive.

There are still a lot of cuts planned for other programs that support people with disabilities in the 2020 budget, according to a column recently published in the New York Times by Tom Ridge, the chairman of the National Organization on Disability.

But the purpose of us being here and now isn’t to dwell too much on that topic or to step into the deep mire that is national politics. So let’s wash that little bit of mud off our shoes and step back into a place of true joy.

Darlington School has hosted the event since 2010 and kudos to them for holding the event and all the hard work that goes into making such an event memorable for everyone.

The school’s freshman class hosts the event every year as their class project. Not only do they learn about service — they also get to have fun cheering everyone on, giving them ribbons and in general having the great time the Special Olympics is meant to be. It’s not the only school that participates though, Rome City Schools and Floyd County Schools are also adding to the fun.

Also kudos to organizer Tammy Bryant, special programs director for Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation, as well as the entire staff who spend a lot of time making sure the event is a success.

Something to remember is the Special Olympics caters to athletes young and old. The Network Day Service Center, located on West 10th Street, brought adults out to enjoy a beautiful day and participate in the fun.

On another note, the staff of the Rome News-Tribune has enjoyed seeing all of the costumes and fun over at the 911 center as dispatchers dressed up for several different theme days this past week.

There have been Disney-themed days, pajama days and all kinds of fun. Also the Floyd County Police Department cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for all the shifts ... although we seemed to have misplaced our invitation to the cookout. Maybe next time. Looking at you Chief Wallace.

We live in a great town and it’s nice to see that kind of camaraderie.