Cheer Them On

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One of the best work days of my year at Lake Orion High School (MI) is the annual Special Olympics Basketball Game. The entire student body (usually between 2,300 and 2,700), staff, and some visitors come to cheer on our Lake Orion Special Olympics Team and a visiting school. Lately it’s been Oxford.

The day is great because the Olympians are there to play, and they do so with enthusiasm. The fans, mostly teenage high school students, are there to cheer, and they also do with enthusiasm. It’s as if for an hour we perfectly understand our roles in life: Somebody takes action and shows what’s possible, somebody cheers them on. It’s beautiful.

At this point, I’ve known and worked with some of our Special Olympics Team members for 16 years, so getting to see them play is great fun for me, but to be honest, what I like the best is the love the other 2,300 kids show for their peers. It’s the one time of year when I really know that they get it. Perhaps the point of life is just that: Cheer someone on.

Maybe that’s why we like sports so much and what’s so wonderful about them. Maybe it’s why we love March Madness so much. Sure, we draw imaginary lines too often by rooting for one team and jeering the other, but it’s our designated way to do what we were meant to do: Root for each other to succeed.

If this idea is right, we don’t cheer enough. So I have a humble ask today: Cheer somebody on. Make sure they know you are rooting for them to succeed (whatever that means to them), and even more, that you love just watching them try.

Go you!

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