Complaining about students getting equal billing in high school yearbooks, is psychology professor Jean Twenge [article, NYTimes, 11-7-2010]. She said; “Having everyone get equal time is the equivalent of everyone gets a trophy, or we’re not going to keep score, or even if we do, everyone’s trophy is the same size. There’s no resemblance to real life.”
I beg to differ with her. In Special Olympics every contender receives a ribbon for every event in which they participate. I’ve seen a race with 12 people, happily competing and receiving ribbons with first through 12th place winner printed on them. Note the key word there: WINNER.
Most folks who compete in Special Olympics do it for the social rewards and because they can. At the finish line of EVERY event is a group of people who volunteer to clap and cheer on the winners – all the winners — everyone who competes. Is there no place for most humans to go beside competing with each other to see who is the biggest winner?
Every person ever born is unique, different, capable; each in their own way. That’s real life, and so is a concept called sympathetic joy. “You would think as healthy human beings we would be concerned about others’ good fortune and happy to respect their preferences and choices. When we have a genuine regard for ourselves we naturally extend that by wishing others success. Mudita is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘sympathetic joy,’ or taking joy in other people’s happiness and well-being.” ( Why do we feel good…10-18-2010)
Now in that light I present you with retired British politician, Ann Wittecombe, who has appeared on Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing, on the BBC television network. Prepare yourself, should you choose to watch the video clip below. This brave woman is heavy and can barely dance, but she has self-confidence and courage!!!