Learning Outcome 1 & 4
My experience in service so far has been a blast. Being in the Special Olympics, one thing certainly strikes to mind being that I have never involved myself among people with intellectual problems. So the question for me was how I was going to approach these people and whether I was capable enough to secure this role?. In the beginning, we oddly did not start out in the sports hall but it was introducing the initiative, what this was about and what new things we could incorporate into the service. The Special Olympics team said that even though the athletes were quite developed in the sport, we have to know certain things in mind that they have different capacities depending upon the person. Some could engage in conversations and open up rather easier than others who were a bit introverted. So during the sessions, we were keen observers seeing how the interactions took place such as positive reinforcement whenever they performed excellently and were being friendly. We paired up with those who were facing difficulties throughout different activities, staying with them through the whole process and help them find a way to cope with it.
When it came to the sport itself, although I have played badminton before, it was never competitive. Mostly just for fun and leisure killing time with friends. I was lucky enough that unlike last years service, we actually had the beginning dedicated to training and getting in shape for the matches. I remember being amused when I learned that the way I was even holding the racquet was wrong. Later I also knew my pose was wrong and even the way I swing the racquet was not up to mark. I was here to learn and knew that it would ultimately help me to play better with the athletes. Coach John who was certainly a character helped with training the athletes and now us too. It was about being strong with your swings but also keeping your body flexible. There were moments where I spent 20 minutes swinging at a basketball hoop. I’m not going to lie, being a border and a lot of running right after dinner can certainly result in annoying cramps where I would go “WHY??”. Most of the time I would just come back exhausted ready to jump onto my bed as it does take quite a bit of your energy but seeing at the end of the day smiling to oneself at the altruistic purpose of having a service is certainly worth every breath!