We hit another milestone in Riley World.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought we would be participating in a weekend basketball tournament with either of the boys and yet here we were. Exciting, nerve-wracking, and for Riley World…stressful. Boy was it stressful! Lucky for us, one of R's support workers was able to come along because what 21 year old wants their parents sitting on the bench with them. ;)
A weekend of basketball with a record 29 teams. Athletes from all over the Lower Mainland and Island came to compete this weekend. The energy level was high. The noise level was high. The stress level was high. Chances of a meltdown were…well…high.
When you have a record 29 teams and only 2 gyms...waiting was a given. A surprise fire alarm after the opening ceremonies…was not. Thankfully we live ~10 minutes away from the venue so we were able to go back and forth during the breaks. Four times on Saturday to be exact. The day ended after nearly 12 hours with the melt-o-meter wavering extremely close to the red zone. McD’s on the way home for Riley and a McTini for me when we got home.
Where individuals with unique abilities are given the opportunity to be a member of an organized team.
Where individuals with unique abilities are given the chance to play and compete in a multi-day tournament.
Where individuals with unique abilities like Riley are encouraged to be the best that they can be.
Something that is not a given when you have unique abilities.
Riley first joined Special Olympics in September 2012 and each year since he has tried something new. We have seen Riley challenged and grow with each new activity.
Competitive would never be a word I would use to describe Riley. The word I think best describes Riley is Sportsmanship.
Sportsmanship is defined as ethical, appropriate, polite and fair behavior while participating in a game or athletic event. When a basketball player plays by the rules, is fair to his opponent and is gracious when he loses, this is an example of sportsmanship.
I watched as Riley clapped and cheered when either team scored whether he was sitting on the bench or ummm
standing out on the
floor. I watched as he passed the ball to the opposing team the two times he actually touched the ball because he didn't know what to do with it. I watched as he moved out of the way in order to let his opponent
have a clear line to the basket. Polite, Fair and Gracious...yup…Sportsmanship
was the word.
But by far one of the best things I watched…everybody and I mean EVERYBODY cheered for each other. There were no agruments about not getting enough play time. There were no screaming players/parents about missed plays. There was just encouragement and comradery.
And that is the beauty of Special Olympics.