By Morgan Lang, Unified Partner from Special Olympics Maryland
Morgan, a high school student in Calvert County MD, recently competed in unified basketball at the Special Olympics USA Game in New Jersey. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding. The teams are comprised of similar age and ability matching of unified partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) and Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities). Click here to learn more about Unified Sports.
Below is a poem Morgan wrote about being a unified partner and how the Special Olympics athletes have impacted her life.
U is for Unbelievable
N is for Necessary
I is for Impressive
F is for Fearless
I is for Incredible
E is for Extraordinary
D is for Devoted
But these words do not describe the Unified Partner that I am so honored to be
But the athletes I compete next to and what they are to me.
I started as a partner to teach them how to play sports
They taught me more about life then I could learn on the courts.
As I meet more and more athletes each and every year
My heart grows with love but also hurts with fear
Why fear you ask, cause I know that someday soon as I go off to college and get settled
That the day will come when I can’t be there to see my friends get every Bronze, Silver and Gold medals.
So as I grow into my new life and overcome more feats
You should know that the ones that helped me are all my special athletes.
You tell me thank you, and you say you admire me
But to me YOU are the ones that are so INSPIRING.
I hope that I have left a little piece of me behind
To teach more people out there how to be kind
I hope to continue to inspire more partners to start
But to you my athletes I say thank you and you will always have my heart.
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