April 18, 2006
Liz published this at 1:10 pm
A Heartwarming Story
One more story–this one will explain the last. You may already know it. It’s inspiring and heartwarming. I’ve encountered it more than once myself.
A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with relish to run the race to the finish and win.
All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry.
They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back……every one of them. One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story.
It’s a lovely read, but it’s not what happened.
The story is not true, it’s become a legend. People believe it. I find that a little bit scary.
The True Story
According to the State of Washington, where this event of the Special Olympics occurred in 1976, a young man did fall and two or three runners did stop to help him. The small group walked together to the finish.
It’s an inspiring story still–more inspiring to me.
People in Boxes
The problem with the legend is that it puts all of the runners in a box. It takes away both from the athletes who chose to give up what they trained for and those who continued to run on toward their dream.
People in boxes are hard to see.
Sometimes when I’m at a blog, I read something that puts people in boxes. I can’t help but think, if you put teachers, or truck drivers, or politicians, or photographers, or ice-skaters in a box, how soon before you do the same to me? I usually don’t go back, but I’m just one reader.
Do you know what I mean?
–ME “Liz” Strauss