Insomnia cannot hold a candle to inspiration, motivation and an athlete's pride. We walked into the Bob Devany Stadium at the University of Nebraska at 2:50 on Saturday afternoon. Within seconds of entering the building my headache caused by countless sleepless night disappeared. The energy that filled the entire structure was unlike any I had felt before. It was tremendous and took control of all 20,000 plus in the stadium.
I have never ever felt the way I felt this afternoon about anything. Granted I am sucker for tears, but to see almost 3,600 athletes representing 47 states and the District of Columbia proudly march in the stadium representing their states was the first of many tear jerking scene that happened during the Opening Ceremonies.
The event was extremely well choreographed with a number of MCs, including those with disabilities. There was music, and videos of stories of the athletes. The athletes, coach and official oaths were recited. There was a motivational speaker, words from the Governor of Nebraska and other dignitaries.
The story of the carrying of the torch from Ames, Iowa site of the 2006 Games was shared as the torch arrived and lit. Tim Shriver spoke in memory of his mother the founder of the Special Olympic; Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her video tribute was inspiring and moving. She was a remarkable person who never looked down on anyone and paved the way for all people with disabilities to participate in sports, find jobs and become accepted members of the community.
We could only see team Colorado from afar and did not get to talk to Alex. We did see her earlier in the day at the Track Stadium. She was with her team practicing before the first events which start tomorrow. She looked happy and safe.
It was a remarkable day, something I will never forget. Move over insomnia, the Special Olympics can cure anything, and in my world has created a proud and confident athlete; a 17 year old girl with down syndrome named Alex. There was not a dry eye in the house.