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  • Colin Jonov

“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

The Special Olympics oath stands as a testament to resilience and hope for all: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Many may not know, but my older brother, Ryan, has Down syndrome. I seldom discuss the profound ways in which he’s shaped my life. I once felt “I got the life he deserved.” However, as I journey through life, I’m consistently inspired to emulate his spirit. Those fortunate enough to know individuals with disabilities can attest to the infectious positivity they exude. Imagine if every individual embraced life with their unshaken optimism; our world would undoubtedly be brighter. If I could perceive the world through Ryan’s lens, even for a day, I’d undoubtedly become the best version of myself. He is a cornerstone of my inspiration, and I commit to celebrating his impact more, for he more than warrants it.

Revisiting the oath, having now shared its profound significance to me, the latter part especially resonates: “But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Man, that’s a potent reminder. The ethos of the Special Olympics is one we should all internalize. Despite the challenges many of these athletes face, their radiant joy and passion are evident. They engage for the sheer love of the sport, lighting up the field with their smiles. Their competitive spirit is fierce, but win or lose, their joy remains untainted, evident in their eager celebrations with loved ones post-game. It’s time we took a page out of their life playbook.

The essence of the Special Olympics oath extends far beyond the realm of sports. It’s a daily mantra that prompts us to approach life’s challenges with bravery, even if the odds seem stacked against us. How often do we shy away from challenges for fear of failure? Imagine if, instead, we faced every challenge with the spirit of “being brave in the attempt.”

Moreover, the athletes’ undying spirit serves as a beacon, reminding us of the intrinsic values of perseverance, joy, and camaraderie. They do not measure success solely by the result but by the effort and heart put into the endeavor. It’s a refreshing perspective in our result-driven society, reminding us that the journey can be just as enriching as the destination.

Let’s challenge ourselves this week. Let’s face a task we’ve been avoiding, embrace a new experience, or simply offer encouragement to someone in need. Let’s strive to be brave in our attempts, knowing that every effort brings growth, understanding, and a sense of fulfillment. If we begin to embody this ethos, not only will our individual lives be enriched, but we can collectively create a community that values effort, celebrates diversity, and uplifts everyone, irrespective of the outcome.

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