The Special Olympics held its opening ceremony on Saturday night in Los Angeles, Calif. The man who led the athletes in their oath before the Games could officially get underway? Jamaal Charles.
Yes, Jamaal Charles. The same Jamaal Charles who is the All-Pro running back of the Kansas City Chiefs, perhaps the future Hall of Famer. Charles actually competed in the Special Olympics at the age of 10 because he struggled with a learning disability. Despite being made fun of throughout his youth for the problem, Charles went on to become one of the most successful athletes in the United States.
Do yourself a favor and watch the video of Charles speaking to these legions of brave men and women. It really is one of the most moving things you will see.
This is a professional athlete, who never draws a bad word about him, going back to his roots and speaking about what must have been a fulfilling and yet painful time in his life.
It is safe to say Charles is an inspiration for everyone competing the Games. So often, society looks down on those who struggle because they are perceived as different. Always 20 years ago, Charles was looked upon as different. Now, he is sharing his experiences and struggles with the rest of the world in hopes of inspiring.
Between the charitable efforts of Tamba Hali in the fight against the Ebola Virus and the multitude of gestures put forth by Charles, this is a very easy team to root for.