The thought I kept having as I watched teams pull a UPS 757 cargo jet during the Special Olympics Plane Pull on Saturday, September 29 at the Louisville International Airport was: “That’s a pretty tough tug-of-war opponent.”
Yet time and time again, teams of 20 participants would step up to the 147,000-pound UPS browntail, size up the competition, grab the rope, and pull with all of their might, trying to move the plane 12 feet faster than all of the other teams.
There were men’s teams, women’s teams, and coed teams. Some teams were dressed in coordinating outfits. Some teams did uniquely-designed cheers before they pulled. Some teams even had mascots. Some teams had huge, muscular men and women, while others were trim and lean and probably weighed less than the thick rope that was being used to pull the plane.
Yet despite all of their differences, each of the 34 teams participating in the pull had two things in common: teamwork and the will to help a terrific organization in our community.
UPS founder Jim Casey once said, “Determined people working together can do anything.’
On Saturday, that quote was proven correct several times over. Every single one of the teams of 20 proved they could pull the 73-ton aircraft, some in as little as six or seven seconds. Even better than that, each of the teams raised more than $1,000, with Special Olympics of Kentucky estimating that more than $100,000 would be raised when all was said and done.
But the most determined people I saw on Saturday were those Special Olympics athletes who were given the first chance to pull. While a plane may be a difficult tug-of-war opponent on a Saturday afternoon in September, these athletes are facing difficult opponents each day of their lives, and they are facing these challenges with courage and strength.
To them, trying to pull a huge UPS plane was just another chance to live out the Special Olympics pledge they recited shortly before the event began: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
|Category:||Caring for Communities, Community|
|Tags:||757, aircraft, global volunteer month, Louisville, Special Olympics, UPSers|