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The athletes' oath for Special Olympics is "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."
This oath became more than just words at the Georgia State Special Olympics Games recently in Marietta. During the final basketball game, Alberto, a student-athlete who had suffered a stroke while running track for his middle school last year proved that he lives these words by giving his all on the basketball court. He did this with such dedication and enthusiasm that his fellow athletes noticed. While his physical disabilities kept him from keeping up with the fast-paced game, he never gave up.
The Hall County teams, made up of students from West Hall, Johnson and North Hall, were behind in the last few minutes of the game. A player on the Gwinnett team proved there is more to the game than winning. He was preparing to throw the ball to his teammate when he reached in and handed the ball to Alberto, who was standing under the goal.
When he took the ball, all the other players on his team began to step back, giving him the opportunity to shoot unopposed. The Hall County players also began to step back. Alberto took his shot but missed and the Gwinnett player rebounded and returned the ball to Alberto.
Each time he missed the Gwinnett player gave him the ball back until he sank a basket before the clock ran out. The entire gym erupted into a standing ovation for these young men. No one was unaffected by this beautiful gesture. Everyone had tears in their eyes and Alberto was beaming.
While this basket did not affect the outcome of the game, it affected the hearts of everyone present and gave them one of those wonderful moments that will never be forgotten.
The oath, "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt," are truly more than words as these young athletes demonstrated to everyone at the game.