Like usual, I’m the last one to get around to doing something……..but I’ve finally managed to find a little time to post my thoughts on the Special Olympics event we were so fortunate to be a part of. After 10 days in Ames, there is plenty I could write about. But, to keep you from falling asleep, I’ve decided to give a quick Top Ten list of my favorite things from Ames.
10 – Witnessing how a simple case of the flu was transformed to a major health outbreak involving “quarantines” within a matter of minutes.
9 – Watching Shors crawl back to the media center after being in a “crisis bullpen” for four hours and missing Closing Ceremonies and saying……”I need a drink!”
8 – Thai Spice. The new Ames restaurant, which was previoulsy located in Boulder, where we ate dinner almost every night (or at least when we had time to eat dinner!)
7 – Drinking a 12 dollar bottle of beer with the folks from Farmer’s Almanac TV while watching fireworks on the 4th of July.
6 – Watching the New York vs. Florida men’s basketball game. Watch out Shack! These guys were TOUGH and it was the best game I’ve ever seen!
5 – Hearing a story from spectators about Tawnee Castillo, a swimmer from Arizona. Tawney competed one day and won a gold medal. The next day, she swam against the same person she beat the previous day. On day two of her competition, she slowed down during the race so the girl who was in second could take first place and win a gold medal too. According to Tawney, she “already had one and everyone deserves a gold medal here!”
4 – Meeting a team of deaf soccer players from South Carolina and getting their incredible story on the news for everyone to see/hear!
3 – Meeting Mark Heffner from Merced, California. I met Mark at the Cessna Airlift. When he found out what I do, he told me “I want to go full court press while in Ames” and gave me a list of papers and TV stations he wanted to be in/on. The next day, Mark was on the front page of the Des Moines Register.
2 – How during the National Games, Ames became “a microcosm of how the world should be.” This was borrowed from a writer at the Ames Tribune. As the writer noted, if you stuck around at any of the venues long enough, “You’ll find countless examples of simple human kindness at work.”
1 – Ronald Weintraub, the Special Olympics athlete from New York who volunteered in our media center for the week. Ronnie was an entertaining and wonderful addition to the “red room” where we all spent way too much time while in Ames. He made the trip seriously worth-while and I hope he becomes a life-long friend!
I hate to brag….but that was seriously the ten most rewarding days of my professional career! I’ve already called Special Olympics Maryland to find out what I can do to get involved permanently!!