The women's crew team recently headed out the Dartmouth Skiway to volunteer for the Upper Valley Special Olympics. This is the second consecutive year the team has participated and we had a great time cheering on athletes in the cross-country ski races. Junior Kelly Kennedy helped to run the behind-the-scenes show and got some airtime on the mic during the opening ceremonies. We stationed ourselves evenly around the 1K cross-country loop, and then relocated to the shorter sprint events. Some of the athletes were pretty responsive to our cheering, and thanked each person every time we encouraged them. Others were visibly frustrated at times, but it didn't phase them--they finished without complaint and congratulated each other when they finished.
The athletes' good spirits and determination inspired us. They were so proud of themselves and their competitors. Senior Hannah Jeton, the mastermind behind our banner, noted how happy the athletes were during the awards ceremony: "You can see it in their eyes!" They helped each other find the correct place at the awards stand and held up their ribbons when their names were announced. All in all, it was a heartwarming and humbling experience." The Games reminded us of the universality of sports and the validation of accomplishing a goal, and we're pumped to return next year.