Several years ago, I was asked if I could go watch the Special Olympics participants that I had been working with for a few years at their state golf meet. The group that I worked with was called the Spring Panthers. There were about eight regular participants, but sometimes up to 15. I took my wife with me and was surprised to see several hundred people at the golf course who were from all over the state of Texas. They had several different competitions such as putting, chipping, pitching, and for those who were more advanced, they could participate in a nine-hole championship. Our most advanced player, Kevin, competed in that event and did very well.
I watched as Tracy was competing in the putting contest. The competition was to see who could make the most putts out of five on a 10-foot putt. Tracy missed all five of hers and was quite upset as she came over to me and cried as she hugged me. I watched several more of them in the different contests that were being held, and I felt my emotions getting involved as each of them were doing their best. You see, they had been looking forward to this state meet for many months, and this day was going to be their only shot at winning a medal for something that they had been anticipating for so long. You should have seen the smiles on their faces when they would make a good shot. As I watched them jump up and down in celebration, I thought to myself, “If life could only be so simple for all of us!”
After the competition was over, Jane, Kevin’s mom, asked me if they could give me something and then take a group picture with me. They presented me with a plaque that had a golf ball and a club attached to it. It had my name on it and this quote:
“Thanks for all your time and help!”
1998 Spring Panthers
I had been volunteering my services to them a couple hours every Saturday for three years. Even though I helped them without charging them, believe me when I tell you that I was, by far, getting the better deal!
They all gathered around me as we posed for the picture. The sun was in our eyes but it didn’t bother me because I was wearing sunglasses. After the picture, each one of them came up and gave me a hug and said thank you. About 20 minutes later as my wife and I were headed home, my wife said to me, “Wow, that really touched you, didn’t it?” I said “Yes, but how could you tell?” My wife looked at me and smiled as she said, “Your sunglasses were leaking!”
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