So you know what the people in charge of this special hockey tournament did? They gave us free drinks, let our kids dance freely and joyously to a DJ, then they played a video of footage taken over the past few days at the tournament.
Needless to say, I might have sobbed a little bit.
I mean, we all know I cry at the drop of a hat, but there was more to it than that. I cried those tears of joy and gratitude because I am so lucky to be part of this amazing team and this amazing greater special hockey community. I also cried those tears for many other reasons.
I cried because the highlights from the games showed just how well these teams play hockey. It is so cool to watch these players in clips that show off their skill and enthusiasm. But more than that, they showed how these teams support each other and build each other up. I have never seen any sports teams demonstrate as much good sportsmanship as I have seen at special hockey tournaments. You see coaches helping players on other teams, you see players congratulating their rivals on scoring goals, you see respect all over the ice.
You also see Jack occasionally knocking someone on the helmet with his stick, but that didn’t make the highlight reel, thank God.
The highlight reel also featured the athletes talking about hockey, talking about their teams, talking about what an incredible experience the tournament is. See, I write a lot about how incredible special hockey is from my point of view—because it is my point of view—but hearing about special hockey from all those different players’ points of views? It doesn’t surprise me, but it does make my heart happy.
Special hockey matters. It really, really matters. I want to take a minute to tell all of you who donated to last year’s Cheetah-thon something: Every family that came on this tournament was offered a stipend of half of their tournament costs so that more players could afford to come. You guys gave this experience to some of our players this weekend. You guys. You did this. That matters. These players and their families thank you. I thank you. You helped magic happen this weekend.
I didn’t need a highlight reel to show me that this weekend was magic, but it was such a happy experience to see that magic onscreen. Jack and I will never forget this weekend. Thank you to the Cheetahs for that. Thank you to the other families, the other teams, and the tournament organizers for that. And also? Thank you for that. You made magic happen.
The Cheetahs are holding their second annual Cheetah-thon this May. If you are looking to do some charitable giving, definitely consider this amazing organization. You can donate online here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/mberger/2ndannualcheetah-thon
Thank you to Stimeyland’s first donation in honor of Jack: my mom and stepfather! Thank you so much!!