She stepped onto the track feeling cautious. Her too lively mind could easily find reasons to turn her away. She didn't want to hear that. She wanted to find reasons to find her strength, to make herself proud.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the coach preparing Nino, the boy with down syndrome, to run a lap. The boy was excited, he was nearly chomping at the bit, as they say. Without waiting for a start command, he took off. His arms stuck out too much, and his stride was heavy and uneven, but he was flying. He wanted that speed, and he fought for it. She found herself smiling, excited to see someone so passionate. To the side she heard someone murmur, "I'll bet he's going to stop near the stairs." Rage boiled up in her throat, and out exploded whoots of support. There was no reason he HAD to run, but it was there on his face: the passion. She wasn't about to let him be defeated by pain. He was going to succeed.
"Go Nino!" She cried, and smiled to hear her team whoot in support, their enthusiasm echoing off the fences and across the field. The football team mid stretches looked up just as the team leader bellowed, "Almost there! Keep pushing!" and the football team began cheering, adding to their racket.
Nino exploded in speed. His wacky side to side motion gave his stride a strange beat, but it was irrelevant as he sprinted into the finish faster than he ever had, and the entire field urrupted in applause.
There was an abundance of self love as he jogged from the finish breathing heavily. She looked around, moved by her peers, so full of appriciation and compassion. Everyone could relate to his struggle, but they had given him a gift of support to help him through it. And she realized he helped them. He had helped her find the motivation by sheer inspiration, and he had helped everyone on that field come together and form a bond of support that brings everyone to their best.
She smiled as he walked away, with that ever present dorky smile on his face. He knew how to love like no one else. He was exceptional.