My Friend, James (Speech)
I INTERVIEWED JAMES, HE GAVE ME HIS ANSWERS, AND I MADE IT INTO A SPEECH FOR HIM TO RAISE MONEY. I SAW HIS SPEECH ON VIDEO (I HAD TO WORK SO HIS MOM RECORDED IT FOR ME) - AND I WAS SO PROUD OF HIM THAT I WAS BROUGHT TO TEARS.
When I was first little, doctors told my mom that I wouldn’t be able to walk, talk, or even ride a bicycle - but because of God, my family, and this organization, I can.
I would like to see that doctor and tell him that I have won every single BMX bike race that I was ever in!
What we are talking about today is my passion. I have been doing it for 27 years. I love meeting new friends through it – the partners, coaches, other athletes – my mom even calls me a social butterfly!
This is where I grew my social butterfly wings.
I have played and tried many different sports, which everyone tells me is very special. Most people play one, two, maybe three sports in their lives. I have played softball, raced BMX bikes, golf, basketball, bowling, swimming, floor hockey, basketball skills, diving, and even horseback riding and jumping!
Every time I put on my jersey for every sport I play in, I am proud. I feel happy when I put on my jersey. I am proud because I’m doing it – I am being an athlete.
This has taught me to never give up and to have confidence. I think about this while I’m playing sports – like at Nationals for softball in North Dakota the other week. The coaches would shout “Keep your head up!” And they would always say, “Are you having fun? Because that’s all that counts!”
One of my favorite funny memories was when I played golf. I putted it up to the green and I made it in! I couldn’t believe it. My Granddaddy was my partner, and we just jumped up and down and I screamed, “YESSSS!”
My favorite memory of joy is when I shot the basketball and made a point. When you make a basket, you’re so happy and you just want to celebrate. It was an amazing shot!
I have made a lot of my friends through this. It is a very social thing. We go fishing together, have had overnight trips, traveled together, gone to dances, and even meet people from other states, like at Nationals.
If I had to say one thing to someone who doesn’t know a lot about this organization, it would be to come watch! You will fall in love with everything. The dances. The open ceremonies. The athletes. The partners!
Speaking of partners, I go to my partners house for dinner and we watch football together. They are more like a friend and a family. My partner is Clint. I like him because he’s a lefty. We stayed in a room together and he couldn’t sleep because all he could hear was me grinding my teeth at night!
My favorite memory is going to North Dakota for Nationals. The rules were different there. It’s just more fun to go out of state. It’s more competitive and you get to play teams from around the world. It felt awesome being there. I made a play – I caught the ball. And when I hit, I hit it over the pitcher. When I hit that last ball, the partners and athletes said that was a really good hit and to keep my head up.
My dream is to go to Nationals in Seattle. I want to go where different countries are represented like Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Philippines, Australia, and other countries I’ve never been to.
Someone asked me once, what would I be doing if I didn’t have this organization? And I said, being lazy! I just love it to death. I would never stop. I can build memories, meet new friends. I even got to see Mount Rushmore – that was a once in a lifetime experience!
I was asked if I would ever retire from my sports here - my answer is never! I said, if I can walk, I am playing. If I can’t play anymore, I would coach.
After 27 years, I have some great memories and some once in a lifetime experiences. It makes me feel wonderful. I am so thankful to have to have this in my life and am happy to have met so many great people and grow my social butterfly wings. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this organization and to everyone who has helped out!
James was talking about the Special Olympics.