Unity Cup – The trip to Cape Town

Well we’ve been in Cape Town for about twelve hours and it is 12:30 am on Thursday night/Friday morning. Personally, save for a few random 20-minute doze-offs within the three-flight, 24-hour tri-continental journey, it has been a sleepless 38 hour span that began at 4:30 am on Wednesday morning in Boston. Confused? Me too. That said, who needs sleep when you are in freaking Africa and you have just met some of the most amazing and inspiring Special Olympics athletes, leaders, and volunteers from every corner of the globe?! First though, quick re-cap of the flights….

Boston to London to Johannesburg to Cape Town. Mostly just long uneventful flights. At least I thought they were uneventful until we were de-boarding the plane in London and I heard John Millett getting into a verbal altercation with an Englishman. Apparently it was over leg-room and a reclining seat, a classic airplane dilemma. When I heard the Englishman snidely remark, “Welcome to England”, I temporarily forgot that the purpose of this trip is to get into the spirit of unity and acceptance. I was tempted to “Go Worcester on him” (Matt Millett has described his soccer-playing style as rough and rugged, Worcester-style). But cooler heads prevailed.

We sat through a few more flights, and all was grand as we descended into Cape Town. The surreal descent into the mountainous South African sunny afternoon was quite majestic. It actually reminded me of my two other favorite “approaches” in the USA. First, as Colorado folks can attest, there is no greater way to return home after a day of work or after an extended absence than to approach Boulder on Route 36 where you get a full view of the Flatirons, Bear Mountain, and the foothills. The other great “approach” is driving to New York City from a distance and finally getting within the reach of Radio Station Hot 97. This arrival, has a very special meaning; we are here in the name of unity, dignity, acceptance, and inclusion for people with disabilities. We have arrived at the hotel and are THRILLED to be in beautiful Cape Town. The trip continues…

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