Kelly Rapp

The Special Olympics

I woke up early in the morning not knowing that tonight’s experience was going to change me entirely as a person. Just another show I thought, just another show. I had no idea what tonight’s experience was going to be like, let alone its great effect. Usually there are countless hours of rehearsals, all in preparation for about thirty minutes in total of onstage time. This time was different. The team did not feel completely ready and as confident as usual for this specific performance.

For the entire day I fidgeted with anything I could get my hands on because of the amount of nervousness held inside of me. As the day slowly continued, school got out, and that meant it was almost time. Tired from a long day at school, we were impatient for yet another performance to begin. After an hour of stop-and-go traffic, we finally arrived at the Boston University gymnasium, home of the opening ceremonies. When we arrived, the extremely large sign that stated, “Welcome to the Special Olympics” caught our eyes. After we had our tech rehearsal we became more satisfied with our dances and much more confident. As the rehearsal finished up, people started to fill the stadium.

An hour went by and our makeup and costumes were in order and we were told to wait patiently in the stands for the ceremonies to start. Once the presenters went on stage, we knew it was almost time. Little did we know that the competitors of Special Olympics were all going to flow into the gymnasium like ants crawling out of an ant hill. We sat there in amazement at all of the kids coming to participate. They were carrying pompoms in their hands and huge smiles were filling their faces; we were more excited than ever. They looked like the happiest people to ever live.

After an hour of the competitors piling on into the stadium, it was time to open the show. “And now, I present you the Legacy Dancers from Lexington, Massachusetts, here to begin the Opening Ceremonies for the Special Olympics 2005!” Thunderous applause and shouts of excitement sprang from the audience as we rushed to our places. It was pitch black and the music started. Once the dance began, the crowd went wild and the competitors' faces were in awe. I could see how much fun and amusement the people were having. The smiles on their faces were beyond mere grins, and most of the smiles remained there throughout the entire performance. It was amazing how genuinely happy these kids were made by our performance. They were smiling, laughing, even dancing along. It was gratifying to know that something I take for granted everyday was making other people truly happy. The feeling that came over me was incredible. We realized that sharing our joy of dance with these less privileged children, made us extremely grateful for their overwhelming happiness. It didn’t matter if we had practiced enough or thought the dances were ready for performance; we encouraged other children, those less fortunate than ourselves, to enjoy their lives and continue to reach for their dreams.



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