Lyn is an Athlete

This is Lyn.  Lyn is an athlete.  Lyn's been competing since she was 6 years old.

While this is an old picture of Lyn, it is one of my favorites.  I keep this one on my desk at work.  She had won yet another medal for her participation in Special Olympics.  After 3+ decades of competition, I couldn't even hazard a guess as to how many medals and ribbons she's won over the years. 

Lyn has competed mostly in Bowling and Track and Field.  She did make it to the World Games for Gymnastics in the 1980's.  She's also competed in Downhill Skiing for several years.  She loved skiing but hated the poles.  The rules state that poles are required.  She would use the skis to push off at the start and then stick them straight out in front of her once she got going down hill.  You never wanted to be in front of my sister when she was skiing because you risked getting skewered by those poles.

Our immediate family has always supported Lyn's participation in Special Olympics.  At one time or another, Mom, our brother and I have all served as a volunteer in some capacity in addition to taking her to her practices and cheering her on at every competition.  When our grandparents were alive, they also came and cheered her on at competition.  Even now, the connection to Special Olympics continues and has been shared with the newest generation of our family.

Special Olympics, and Lyn's participation in it, was part of what allowed Mom to teach Lyn about differences in our brains at an early age.  It was an easy and immediately understandable concept that differences in people's brains made Lyn a good athlete while I was not a good athlete.  Differences in coloration, height or weight were all just visual differences that, while illustrative, didn't convey that things can just work differently.  Lyn has blue eyes.  I have brown eyes.  However, we both could see equally well.  Neither of us needed glasses at that time and so it wasn't obvious that eyes could work differently.  Lyn's athletic abilities and passion had to come from somewhere.  Mom used those things to explain that our brains work differently even though we cannot see them.

We haven't told Lyn what she couldn't do.  We haven't defined Lyn's limitations for her.  Instead, we've focused on what she can do, what she likes to do and what she's good at doing.  She's good at bowling.  She loves it.  So, Mom makes sure that Lyn continues to bowl each week.  She has her own ball and shoes.  Her equipment is kept in good condition and she still competes.  Each week, Lyn tells me her scores for the week.  When she visits me, she and my older child go head to head on the Wii.  She wins.


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