The Poisoned Ink Well

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Why I returned my Special Olympics Ribbon

I was thinking about a long time ago when I was around 18 and I volunteered to be a softball coach for the International Special Olympics. I had so much fun hanging out with the kids, too much fun, apparently, because some of the event officials kept thinking that I was one of them, and I guess I was, and people were hugging me like I was, and that freaked me out, but it was funny, and the real athletes all laughed too. I wandered over to the gymnastics competitions because I had been a gymnast in my early teen years and I sat with the athletes and talked and drank cokes and laughed; they were incredible people. At the end of the event they had a dance in the field house at LSU and the other volunteers sat in bleachers and gawked, but I like to dance, and my new friends were asking me to, so I got out, and I jitter bugged, and shimmied, and waltzed, and my mother who was an official ‘hugger’ kept getting compliments about her ‘special child’ and I did nothing to dissuade the rumor, but I did return the ribbon.