Effort can save Special Olympics

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2008

Little Johnny had counted the minutes, anxiously looking forward to the big day as if it was Christmas, a birthday and Halloween rolled into one.

He put in the time on the practice field. He went over and over the motions, perfecting his technique that would allow him to leap past the competition. Johnny was going to bring home the gold in the 35th annual Lawrence County Special Olympics.

And then Johnny’s dream was shattered.

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The one-day event has been canceled because of poor communication, misguided anger and a lack of teamwork.

Although Johnny may be a fictional character, the nightmare scenario is very much a harsh reality for between 350 and 400 Lawrence County students with special needs.

Exactly what caused the event to be canceled hasn’t been released publicly, with many parties saying they don’t even know. This is yet another example of poor communication that derails the attempt to do something great.

What is known is that at least one parent or grandparent filed complaints about the potential location of the event. The South Point school district said it changed its mind about hosting and the long-time event had the plug pulled on it barely a week before it was scheduled.

Event organizers say that they and South Point school officials wanted to move forward with the special day but simply couldn’t overcome some obstacles and find another location.

Tell that to Little Johnny.

Now isn’t the time to give up. That is the wrong message to send.

We challenge the school districts and Special Olympics officials to go back to the drawing board and make this work, even though time is running out and it will be a challenge. It can be done if there is commitment and teamwork.

These young men and women overcome so many obstacles in their lives. Now, we, the adults, must lead by example and show we can conquer a few of our own.