Saturday, March 2, 2013

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 51

After that salad I fed you last week, I have something with much more substance this week!

This. This right here...
...made me so incredibly happy this week! My brother was on the Hudson Valley floor hockey team, that played at the Special Olympic state games in Rochester. So. Cool.

Sometimes I like to pretend that I have complete control over my enthusiasm in any given situation. When we arrived at the venue, I started to feel that inkling of worry about how hard it would be to find our guy. As I pondered out loud, my son had already spotted him. I turned and saw my little brother (ok, so maybe he is going to be 25 soon) walking towards us with his fabulous grin, I yelled and flung my arms around him. I was so excited! (And not just because I hadn't seen him in two months.)
Exhibit A: His smile for the fans
Exhibit B: Me, not masking my enthusiasm

Our dad...chief funseeker and fan club chairman
There were four courts/rinks/fields (we never did decide what to call them) set up in the banquet room of the convention center. (The fancy chandeliers were hoisted high up at the ceiling, and just the sport lighting was lowered.) There were quite a few people milling about checking out the games. One of the things that became apparent was that there was not a person there who did not want to be. The enthusiasm was palpable! The venue also felt safe, not just in a personal wellness way, but more of a judgement-free zone. There were no labels, just athletes, spectators, friends, family and volunteers all there to support each other.

My husband wandered off first to check out one of the other games, while we were waiting for my brother's game to start. He was quickly engaged in a conversation about the game by an athlete he just met. I shook hands with a man who asked my birthday, and when I saw him start to ponder, I had a feeling what was coming next. Adolf informed me that my birthday would be on a Wednesday this year. (Yes it will.) 

We arrived with enough time to spare to meet several of my brother's teammates, as well as the coach and his wife. By the time the game started, we had become invested in team, and could cheer them by name. It was awesome!

This was not your old school gymnasium floor hockey. That disk on the ground was very light and made of something like a dense felt. Sometimes they flew up over the sides, and it was hard to get used to the fact that nobody was going to get hurt by the flying object. The sticks were like broom handles, and two just barely fit in the hole at once.

There were a lot of fist/glove bumps amongst "rivals" as they got up from falls or reset after penalty calls. There were many displays of personal pride and enthusiasm, quickly paired with congratulatory gestures from teammates. There were also many moments of reassurance for temporarily disappointed teammates.

Even though the Knights did not win their first game, we were able to celebrate the comeback they had started in the final few minutes. Their win in the second game sealed their spot as the bronze medal winners for their division. It made me so happy to see this face after the game...
It also made me happy to hear Mousey's talk about her first goal ever, Will's lamenting over his rough one minute stint in the penalty box followed by a few goals and assists, and Billy's ability to overcome the tiredness he felt to have some incredible saves as goalie.

Due to the distance some of the teams travel, there are not necessarily a lot of family members able to make the trip. I was so happy that this event just happened to be less than ninety minutes from our house! It made me happy to see many volunteers had come to the event. Did you know that one of the things you could volunteer to do was simply be a fan? They had large pieces of paper and colored markers for sign! I highly might make you happy! I look forward to looking for other opportunities for our family to get involved volunteering with Special Olympics. I am so happy that my brother's participation this year provided us the chance to get a peek into the competition.


  1. Oh, I just love the Special Olympics! Back when my daughter was a competitive gymnast, our gym hosted our regional Special Olympics, and it was a blast! I think our gymnasts got as much out of it as the athletes did.

  2. Volunteer to be a fan? Ok, that is officially cool. I am so happy that he did well, and that you were able to see it, (90 minutes would be a definite plus, in my book...)


  3. This IS a happy post. Special Olympics is such a wonderful organization! Congrats on your brothers medal win :)

  4. I can't think of a more worthwhile organization than the Special Olympics. Lucky you to get to attend and see your brother! :D Did you make any signs? What a great idea!

  5. I never watch sports unless someone I know is involved. I find it much more fun to root for a team if I feel like I'm involved in some way.

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  6. That is seriously the sweetest! I'm so glad you got to go see him play! :)

  7. How wonderful! What a great experience and your brother looks so proud and happy! I'm so glad you got to go.

  8. Good family times! Awesome!

  9. What a great experience for you all!

  10. My school district always fields a pretty fair bowling team for the Special Olympics. The kids got letter jackets from the high school and were celebrated with the other high school athletes this year, and that made me very happy. Your story just put a huge smile on my face!

  11. I love this post, Andrea. And I fear you may never be a Special Agent with your complete inability to hide your feelings - but that smile! Thank you for sharing your wonderful brother and his team with us!

  12. Wow, what a stellar day! Thank you for sharing this happiness with all of us. It makes ME happy to see YOU this happy. :) And your brother is completely adorable!