Congrats, Mike, for Special Olympics writing success & ribbons
— Heather Conn photo
I feel honoured to give recognition to one of my writing clients, Micheal Oswald, 28, who recently won a 2010 Writers Award and trophy from the Special Olympics on the Sunshine Coast (SOSC).
Michael, a Special Olympics athlete and volunteer, received the trophy at a Special Olympics awards banquet held June 26 at the Gibsons Legion. The budding reporter won acclaim for his fundraising efforts and coverage of the Sunshine Coast Special Olympics in Amateur Sports News, an Edmonton, AB-based publication that has operated since 1979.
This marks Michael’s first published article and byline and he has since written a second feature in the same newspaper.
“I didn’t expect this [award],” says Michael, a resident of Roberts Creek, BC. “I felt happy to have something published. It’s pretty darn inspiring and has inspired me to keep going.”
In his article in the spring 2010 issue of Amateur Sports News, Michael explains how vital an organization like SOSC is for people like him who have developmental disabilities. (Michael has a developmental disability caused by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.) He writes:
Had it not been for Special O., I might have never done any sports at all. School could not provide the right environment fo me to take part in athletics. No one could understand my needs. I felt that I was ostracized and out of place in the gym.
In Special O., the coaches and volunteers are trained to work with people who have special needs. . . When I find difficulty with certain aspects of the game, they demonstrate and teach me in a way that I can understand. They are always calm, encouraging, and warm.
In the same feature, Michael writes that his practices are the highlight of his day. He adds: “The love and friendship is more rewarding than any wage in any professional association. . .[T]hrough this wonderful organization, we can complete any goal and attain any dream.”
Besides his writing achievements, Michael took home a third-place medal and two second-place medals at SOSC swim meets last winter in Vancouver and Powell River. Special Olympics on the Sunshine Coast comprises eight sports: basketball; softball; swimming; track and field; soccer; curling; rhythmic gymnastics; and golf. Forty local athletes and 50+ coaches and volunteers participated this year.
Congratulations, Michael. You deserve it. It’s been a delight to work with you on your young adult story that addresses self-esteem, the love of family, and the impact of bullying. I look forward to seeing it in print. I have enjoyed teaching you over the years and hearing your poems and spontaneous abilities with words. Here’s to continued success with your writing.