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Monday
Jun132011

Track And Field Super Star

The month of June means one thing around my household: Track and Field. Which, I suppose would make that two things, but I never was very good at counting.

I love track and field. Back when I was a young whippersnapper, track was my thang. I joined my first track club when I was nine and have been running like a serial killer was chasing me ever since. The field part of track and field came a bit later in life, but I loved it equally.

My specialty was the distance runs. I preferred the longer races so that it was just the thud of my heartbeat and the swoosh of my breathing as I chased my peers around the track. But I did sprints and relays too and shook sand out of my shorts from the long jump pits. I bounced on the high jump mat like I didn't have a spine and I failed repeatedly at shot put because of my puny upper arm strength and poor form.

But it didn't matter. I adored track and field. My favourite day was always the days I was on the field or the track, practicing or competing. Luckily for me, my children feel the same way about T&F. The competitive hunger for first places and gold medals lurks beneath their innocent exteriors, and like me, they take themselves way too seriously when they are out there, competing.


This year has been no different for Fric and Frac. They've competed, both with success and without. I've been there as often as possible to cheer them on and encourage them (by threatening to chase them around the track myself, while yelling their names as loud as possible), all the while reliving my own glory days.


And like every year, they roll their eyes at me and run a little faster because they aren't quite sure that I won't make good on my threats as I stand around waving my shiny silver pompoms and calling their name.


And like every year I've been a parent to a special needs child, I do my very best to find ways to include Jumbster in our love of competing. Jumby, though it may not be obvious, is every bit as competitive as his siblings and parents. If ever a kid was born to win, it was my son.


It's not always easy having him included in typical child activities. His physical and mental limitations sometimes seem insurmountable to the ones who don't know him well.


Fric and Jumby gearing up for the 50-meter dash


So I spend a lot of time modifying activities to ensure he is included because it's important to him, to me, to the children around him who aren't used to the realities of disabilities, that they see him and not his chair or his slumped body or his tight fists or slack jawed grin.


I want people to see the fire in my son's belly and the twinkle in his eyes as he rides like the win.


He may never win a gold medal or know the thrill of a win, but he knows what it feels to participate. That rush of joy one feels when one is simply included.


Perhaps this is why the Special Olympics is so special to me, and why I'm happy to be part of a paid sponsorship for Procter & Gamble’s Proud Sponsors of Moms program. Because this is an event that takes ordinary disabled folk and lets them shine. It gives the world a chance to see the fire in their bellies instead of the limitations imposed on them simply from being born different. It makes every participant a winner, even the person in last place, as Jumbster so often is.


Procter & Gamble has been a proud partner of Special Olympics for more than 31 years. P&G not only celebrates and supports the athletes, but also their moms, who ultimately want what every mom wants… to see their children have every opportunity they deserve.


So I'm here to remind you that for every person that becomes a fan of the Thank You Mom Facebook page and/or leaves a comment, Procter and Gamble will donate $1 to support Special Olympics Team USA’s journey to the World Summer Games in Athens – up to $250,000!


Jumby has his own track and field day fast approaching. I'm not exactly sure how it will work out but I do know I will be doing everything in my part to ensure that he is included in as many events as possible.


And you know I'll be out there swinging my shiny silver pompoms, cheering my little athlete on. Because that's how *I* roll.


They didn't win, but they didn't come in dead last like last year. So we'll totally count this as a victory.

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Reader Comments (22)

Rock that shizz JUMBY!!!

I was a sprinter. I couldn't hang with the long distance crew. But those girls were usually skinny, cute girls. So I tried my hardest...

By the way, you need to spellcheck your posts. "Favourite" isn't a word anymore. It's been replaced by American English standards. Like "colour", "velour" and "founny".

;)

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

It took me a long time to understand the importance of the special olympics. I'm glad p&g and moms like you supported it long before I knew to.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex@LateEnough

This was the first year KayTar didn't participate in Special Olympics, because she was in a general ed class. She participated with her class in field day, in the events she felt comfortable with (just say no to potato sack racing--that's KayTar's motto), but we missed being part of the SO festivities!

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKyla

Preach it! I respect every kid out there giving it their all, regardless of their talents or abilities.

(I still hate running though.)

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Marsh

this made me cry. As a long time sponsor of the special olympics, and a family member of a competitor I thank you for being so awesome tanis!

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersabrina

I suck at track. I pretty much suck at all sports. So, I'm glad you and the kids are kicking some ass in the great white north!

Go Jumby Go! Thank you for sharing your story -- you are an amazing mom who still has a fire in her belly. (Clicked Like on P&G's page & will leave a comment for this wonderful organization.)

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermom-mom-mom

I "liked" P&G's page and just wanted to root Jumby on....kick some rear little buddy, it whatever way you can.

I love your dedication to your kids....very inspiring! I walk on the high school track in our little town and the SO kids have been practicing there. So fun to watch the excitement on their faces and joy in their voices!

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternvmomof1

Great victory! You and all your kids are a phenomenal example. I love the picture of your daughter and son.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie | A Clear Sign

Go Jumby! As soon as I find my silver pom poms I will be in the backyard, facing north, cheering you on!

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Tanis you're such an awesome mom and I hope that your kids appreciate just how big your heart truly is!

I too 'liked' the facebook page, it's the least I can do :)

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

Go Jumby! Go Tanis! You are both pretty special.

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

This is odd! Are you really a redneck?

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAxel

Screw the sackraces! Why aren't you Albertans watching the Canucks try and win the Stanley Cup?

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Beer N. Hockey

I love Special Olympics--Go Jumby!

June 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSal's Girl

Just wanted to leave a comment to help support the Special Olympics. I hope Jumby has a great time competing.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

I liked and commented on the P&G page. I hope it helps at least in a small way.

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTeri

YAY! for pompom mom! Go Jumby!

June 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkyooty

My middle son has participated in the Special Olympics for the last 5yrs. I love that he gets the chance to showcase his amazing abilities. It's great that Jumby does as well. I know to many parents of atypical children who don't let their kids do anything "typical".

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lemon

Done and done!! Yay!

June 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly Loomis

Way to go Team Redneck!!! Great to see supportive siblings!

June 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

looks like fun to me! I love this post.

June 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthatgirlblogs

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