Over the past ten years I got to compete in the sport that I love which is competitive swimming but after those ten years, I made the hard decision to leave and it wasn’t easy to do. I wanted to blog today on the real reason why I left Special Olympics and the swim team that I competed with, my time with Special Olympics Alabama were memorable and I have no regrets whatsoever. However, the start of the end for me started a year or two after returning from National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska because not only my door of opportunity to grow as a swimmer at the center where my team practices started to close but also any other opportunities to come and represent my state along with the first chance at representing the United States were also starting to go away for me. The way things are run by the state Special Olympics in Alabama weren’t like the rest of the states across the country, not to mention there were no athlete leadership opportunities as well. Also I started to feel of not being treated fairly by the center’s staff as a true human being and the doors of opportunity was pretty much gone for me to grow.
The year of trying to qualify for the Summer World Games in Los Angeles, CA arrived in the early winter of 2015 and I wanted to go represent for the United States on USA soil so bad with a fire passion in Los Angeles but a sprain knee would prevent me from getting that chance and I felt so defeated with myself and I had myself to blame but I didn’t want to cause more damaged to my knee. Even if I did got qualified at state games, I don’t think I would have gotten picked to go because here in Alabama they tend to go for more of the team sports when it comes to World Games. I just grew tired and tired of being treated unfairly by the staff at the center and not being respected not only as an athlete (even though I was one of the best swimmers in the state especially in the backstroke) but also as a human being, it was the final nail of the water coffin for me and I made the difficult decision to say goodbye. It was not easy to leave my swim team because they became like family and we shared a lot of laughs on the team bus together along with fun times at swim meets and team trips. I hope to one day return to compete in Special Olympics but if I do, it won’t be in Alabama.