Special Olympics Soccer Tournament and Reflections on Church Broadcast

This past Saturday was AWESOME!

The day started off with my hubby and I attending the Kansas State Special Olympics Soccer Tournament with our oldest son, Isaac. His team, the Olathe Trailblazers, played two games. The first was against Gardner. The confusing part of playing Gardner is that their team shirts are Gold & their coach shirts are black. Olathe's team shirts are gray and the coach shirts are gold. See how it can be confusing?

Let's start off with the team cheer . . . (Isaac is #10)

I was so impressed with how well everyone worked together as a team! They passed the ball to each other, took turns shooting goals, etc. It was really awesome. Below is a clip of their first game. Isaac intercepted the ball twice from the Gardner team, ending with a goal!

Here are some fun pictures of Isaac during the half-time break.

Isaac & Dad

Isaac with his friend & team-mate, James.

The Olathe Trailblazer's won their first game 12-05.

The next set of games, Olathe played Wichita for the gold.

I was really, really hoping we wouldn't have to play them this year. This is the one team I've encountered so far, that doesn't adhere to the Special Olympics standards. SO is supposed to be about giving individuals with disabilities opportunities to play sports, exercise, have social interaction, develop relationships, and develop good sportsmanship. Everyone is a winner. Heck, our parents cheer when the other team scores a goal. This is how Special Olympics is supposed to be.

Not Wichita though. The only thing they care about is winning. They yell at their kids to pick up the pace, they complain to the refs if anyone on our team accidentally touches another player or the ball with their hands (which in any other game is just over-looked as long as the players aren't hanging on another player's jersey to slow them down or aren't picking up the ball). Those same parents also over-look it every time their child or other team-mate shove, trip, or kick a member of the team they're playing against.

Last year was really difficult. It just happened that last year AND this year, the woman who is the most vocal (and who encourages her son to play however it takes to win) set up her chairs next to my chairs. It's really, really, really hard for me not to turn around and smack someone who's yelling rude things about my son. So what if he tripped and fell over the ball. Holy cow! Like that's never happened in any other soccer game setting. The reason he tripped was because her son pushed him!

On the other side, her son got really frustrated with two of our players (Isaac & James) because they excel at intercepting balls, then passing off to other players. My son got pushed a lot because he challenged other players for the ball.

I was actually really proud of Isaac though. He got really frustrated at one point and just walked off the field and told his coach, "I need a break." Then he sat down with me and my hubby and told us how hard the other team was and that he didn't like them pushing him. He took a five minute break, then went back into the game. I was so proud of him! He really did a great job.

I tried to find some video clips from the Wichita game, but lots of them had the other woman making remarks and I didn't want to post them. I do have to say, as much as Isaac got tripped and pushed around, I felt much worse for Rachel, who has tons of persistence and is totally brave, but not as physically as strong as the other kids. She literally got pushed, shoved, and run over a couple times every quarter. One quarter, the Wichita team goalie kicked the ball right into her face. But what would she do? She just got up, shook it off, and kept right on playing. Man, she's one tough chick and one of my role models.

Final score: 07-12 Even though Wichita won, I have to say I still feel like our team was the real winner.

The Olathe Trailblazers:
Back Row: Our totally awesome coaches!
Middle Row: Robbie, Chase, Evan, Rachel, and Isaac
Front Row: Larry and James

After the last game, we took Isaac out to celebrate at McDonald's. Then we went back home to tell Uncle Mike and all the kids about how awesome Isaac and his team played.

Later that day, I had the opportunity to attend my Church's Relief Society broadcast. Before the broadcast, all the ladies gathered for a delicious dinner. Many sisters brought soups, salads, or desserts to share. It was yummy-licious! The best part, was that the men all came to take down the tables AND do the dishes! Yeah!

After dinner, the ladies all went into the chapel to watch the broadcast from Salt Lake City. The General Relief Society presidency all spoke. My two very favorite talks were by Sister Barbara Thompson (2nd Counselor of the General Relief Society) and President Deiter F. Uchtdorf. I've shared a bit about each person's message below.

Sister Julie B. Beck spoke about our roles as sisters in Relief Society and the great work we do. I absolutely loved it when she said, "The real power of our world-wide sisterhood lies within each sister." Sister Beck talked about how the Relief Society was a formal part of the restoration, and was charged to organize, teach, and inspire Heavenly Father's daughters, to prepare them for the blessings of eternal life. As sisters today, we need to:

1. Increase faith & personal righteousness
2. Strengthen families & homes. Our homes should be a refuge from the evils of the world.
3. Serve the Lord & His children.

Sister Sylvia H. Allred talked about temple worship. I loved her stories about church members faith in Honduras and other far-away countries, and the sacrifices they made so they could travel to the Mesa, AZ temple to be sealed forever as a family. Today, many of those faithful members now have temples in their own countries. What an amazing blessing!

Sister Barbara Thompson was another really fun speaker. I loved it when she said, "Relief Society is not just a class on Sunday. It's not just somewhere to go if we aren't teaching in Young Women's or Primary."

She also said,

"We need not rush around finding things to do or causes to take up.Remember, most often, the help needed is in our own homes, neighborhoods, and communities. A kind word of encouragement, a note of thanks, a phone call, a loving smile, a helpful deed, and a reminder that God loves us is often what is needed most.

We need women to step up and be strong.
We need women to declare the truth with strength, faith, and boldness.
We need women to set an example of righteousness.
We need women to be anxiously engaged in a good cause
We need to live that our lives bear witness that we love our Heavenly Father and our savior, Jesus Christ, and that we will do what they have asked us to do.

We can be a righteous army of women, armed with love, compassion, kindness, service, and faith. We can be a mighty force for good in this world."

President Deiter F. Uchtdorf was the speaker who made me cry. Several times during his talk, it felt like he was speaking right to me. Like he was looking into the camera, past all the other women, and was speaking just to me. He didn't just make me cry though. His story about the differences between his wife's cooking and his own make me laugh! I loved it when President Uchtdorf said that sometimes we sisters focus on what we are lacking and don't look at what we do really well. And his story about his wife always apologizing for what she thought was "less than perfect" hit home, and reminded me that it's okay to not be on top of everything 100% of the time.

President Uchtdorf also shared two principles to help us find peace and joy. They are Creating & Compassion. For those of you who don't think you have talents of significance, Presidnent Uchtdorf said,

"Think again and remember that you are a spirit daughter of God. You may think that you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extends far beyond the limits of a canvas, or a sheet of paper; and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before. Colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.

What you create doesn't have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burnt. Don't let fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you, whether that voice comes from the outside or from the inside.

If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create. Write a letter of appreciation. Learn a new skill. Identify a space, and beautify it.

The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life, and your destiny in the life to come.

Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit as you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness. You improve not only the world around you, but also the world within you."

The whole broadcast was incredible. If you missed it, I highly recommend going to the Church website, and watching the broadcast. The Church now has a new movie player called LDS Move Player. Nope I didn't spell that wrong. That's the name, odd enough as it is. Odd name aside, it's a great tool. You can download the conference and watch different speakers - with no pauses or buffering. It's great! If you don't have time to watch it over the internet, the transcripts of each talk was just posted as I finished this blog. You can print them out to read.

As you can see, my Saturday was filled with fun and inspiration - a great combination!

Would you like to comment?

Jenn said...

It sounds like that soccer tournament was a great experience for Isaac. It's too bad there are people like that. It's bad enough in a regular sports league, but it's just terrible to do that to these sweet kids!

And, I think you were mistaken about President Uchtdorf's talk. He was actually talking directly to me. :) It was a great broadcast, wasn't it?

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hey Jennifer! Hmm . . . could it be possible he was talking to us both? But no one else, right? ;-)

The soccer tournament was great. Isaac just loves sports. I'm so grateful for special olympics, where he can play and be accepted for who he is.

Jamie Gibson said...

My heart breaks for the kids that have to go home and spend everyday of their childhood with parents who are so competitive! If they're that way in front of people, imagine how fun they are to live with! We've delt with similar issues in sports. It is very hard to keep quite and set a good example when you just want to stand up and shout "They are kids for crying out loud, I guess you've never made a mistake!!!" Sounds like you remained calm though :) See how blessed Isaac is that he gets to go home with you :) Those videos were great! He should go pro! I enjoyed the talks as well. President Uchtdorf does have a wonderful way of putting life experience does'nt he :)

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hey Jamie! It's so fun to see you out here in Blogland!

Thanks for your comments. I agree. I do wonder what some parents are like at home vs how they act in public. You'd think they'd put on the good face in public and loosen up at home. I hope that's not the case here, though. I hope the parents are much better with their child at home.