Spouseinbox and I are here in College Station with the special Olympics which is conducting a golf tournament this weekend. We have just returned from the dance they hosted, where I had a few observations. First, let me acknowledge that these are the Special Olympics specifically designed for those who have problems. I observed those with neurological as well as physical difficulties, and noted for example someone with a foot turned in towards the middle about 30 degrees. It was amazing to see this individual dance to their best ability when just walking would be a challenge. Others lined up and were dancing in line with hands on shoulders of the person in front. During this dance, I noted one in a wheel chair lining up with the line and another person pushing a wheel chair in the line. There were helpers dancing with Olympic contestants and assisting them in moves. There was one taking little glow sticks and making earrings or necklaces or simple rings and passing them to those who enjoyed their new toy. The only distressing moment I observed was someone separated from their party and an officer and assistant were trying to find the associates. Otherwise, joy and fun were noted by all present. We even did a bit of the chicken dance. That was a first for me.

While back in the crowd, I did my favorite activity, which was to observe the people there. This had me compare to my previous encounters with individuals in the state school (where I used to work) where residents were institutionalized due to their behaviors and lack of ability. The management there instituted paper after paper to regulate various activities and assessments while all the time missing the characteristic that the Special Olympics has going for itself. Those associated with the Special Olympics are volunteers and are there because they want to be. They bond with the individuals and assist as best they can. There is a caring there and in all probability a level of love which spurs an action which is not required of the person performing it. Those working in the State School have a tougher population, granted, but they are also there for a work day. No matter how much paperwork a bureaucracy requires, nothing will substitute for a person caring and providing love. Caring cannot be put on a piece of paper. Bureaucracy cannot care.

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