As summer break comes to an end and school officially starts, we wanted to share a great post on Unified Sports from Special Olympics Massachusetts Unified Partner David Albertini of Lunbenburg High School. As David begins his senior year of high school, he shares his experience on the power of Unified Sports.
Having unified track at our school last year was really fun. It was very nice to see so many people of different backgrounds and walks of life down on the track. I myself ran on the Lunbenburg High School track team, but having the unified track team there three days a week was quite an experience. It was amazing to see all of the athletes at Lunenburg High School running on the same track. While we may be all of different speeds and skill levels, we were all athletes and we were all looking to compete. There was no labels on anyone except for their lane numbers. This is something anyone would appreciate, runner or not.
I have to admit that I was uncertain as to how this whole thing would work out, but after the first practice I realized we had a lot more in common that I thought.
We were all athletes and wanted to get better and win.
The final meet at the end of the season with all the unified track teams was a lot of work but it was all worth it. It was hot out and on an artificial turf surface, but it was so much fun to see every person on that track trying their best. There is something to be said about people who try their best and are proud of it. The biggest difference for me was that I was working the meet instead of running in the meet. Other than that, it had the same look and feel of any other meet I had been to, that was something else I hadn’t expected. I could relate to the athletes being nervous, excited, disappointed, and victorious at different points in the meet.
I think a lot of misconceptions and barriers came down during the meet.
At the end of the season we had our Spring track Banquet, as we do every year. It seemed natural that the Unified Sports Track Team would be included in the celebration along with the boys’ team and girls’ team. As the coaches handed out varsity letters and other awards, the excitement level increased and you could really see the pride and sense of accomplishment among the track athletes (all of them) and their families. All three teams had a great time and I think everyone learned a lot about each other. I think the second year will be even better. I hope all of our track programs continue to attract new members.