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The Louisville Flyers soccer team at Eastern Kentucky University, competing in the SOKY State Tournament.

Before I got involved, I thought the "Special" in Special Olympics was a synonym. Just a nicer way of saying disabled, handicapped, or different.

Then I got out my old cleats to help coach the Louisville Flyers soccer team.

I was treated to lots of cool little moments. Like our star player passing up goals to get his teammates involved. Or our head coach huddling us up after we got a big halftime lead, and telling the players to play with grace. Or our right fullback asking me if I wanted to come to the fair with him and his parents after our game.

Or standing on a perfectly manicured field at Eastern Kentucky University and seeing hundreds of athletes smiling and competing. Then lining up for a group picture and hearing our players clamor for their friend from another team to hop in.

The admins, the coaches, and especially the athletes in this community are unassuming, inclusive, gentle, and kind. That's a special combination of traits.

Special. Take the word at face value.

About Me:

Collin is a copywriter living in his hometown of Louisville, KY. He played soccer for Denison University and coaches the Louisville Flyers. For a longer version of the article, visit his blog at collinhockenbury.space.