The Goodfeeling Games

Discussions about fairness have been part of the national dialogue for some time now, and it's really affected how we see each other. For example, the Special Olympics -- the quadrennial spectacle that gives the handicapped a chance to showcase their sports skills -- is absurdly unfair. Why should only the retarded and the disabled be treated as equals? What about those of us who are different? To cite just a few examples: we, too, are dependent on others, and cannot make good decisions; we don't care what society thinks about us. Different? Hardly. Teens need fairness, too.
In a world that so often responds to appeals for Basic Fairness with indifference or a quizzical expression, I'm glad I live in Seattle. We heckled the local Special Olympics and boycotted Special Olympics products until they listened to reason, and the result was the formation of a brand new sporting extravaganza called The Goodfeeling Games. Teens and their counterparts in the handicapped community would vie in feats of skill -- in an atmosphere of equality and fairness -- to show the world who is better. We all hate the super-dweeby bullshit that is sports but we looked forward to the fairness since that's what we had demanded.
The competition was held on Labor Day at the Marymoor Fairgrounds, and a happy mood that morning heralded a fine Games to come. We were given juice and free T-shirts as compensation for our time, and everyone pointed out how during the entire Commencement Ceremony we did not trash-talk, threaten or ridicule our adversaries. But why would we? When the atmosphere was so full of, well, good feelings.

Spelling. Every contestant misspelled every assigned word. But because one of our competitors, Chandler, requested that his word be used in a sentence, and then mistakenly misspelled each of the words in that sentence, the final tally went to the Tards.

Style Boxing. Style boxing is fisticuffs judged by style alone, with points deducted for punches that make contact. Our pugilist, Gavin, was way ahead in his match against the spina bifida fighter, who several times had been docked heavy points for wild and over-extended punches. But Gavin could not rise for the second round, and the Tard took the gold.

Slow Bowling. In Slow Bowling, victory is awarded to the bowler whose ball takes the longest to reach the pins. Rewards finesse. First a quad came out and bowled, and he did pretty well. But our bowler, Tyson, may have believed it was how slowly you can stand up and release the ball because he never did. The judges say they will disqualify him for using a performance-enhancing drug (pot) should he eventually bowl.

At midday break we put on our thinking caps and agreed that none of this was fair. But then Dillon made an observation that really got us thinking: what if we talked to our adversaries, and tried to get to know them? Somehow we might derive an advantage. So during lunch I sat down next to a guy in a wheelchair and struck up a conversation about it.
"I'm paralyzed," he said. "I fell down the stairs when I was a kid."
Huh?! Change the subject. "Who empties your pee?"
But then it was bladder this and catheter that and I was like, I'm trying to eat my freakin' corn-dog here.
I've read that when your manners go, that's the first sign.

Girl Throwing. It's not what you think. Throwing a girl would discriminate against girls. Girl Throwing is just seeing how well you can throw something like a girl. Gunther had some experience with girls, and was tabbed as our hurler. But when he threw he just looked like a retard. And the Tard thrower? Threw just like a girl. Please don't tell me that's not ironic.

Act like a Pirate. Cursing, scowling, stomping their feet, the Tards refused to take part in this degrading event. All the menacing waving of prosthetic hands won the judges over, however, and they took the prize.

Paying Attention. This was scheduled for two o'clock in the Game Tent. But no, it was scheduled for ten o'clock at Toutle Gym. There is no Game Tent. Could anything be less clear? Again, it doesn't seem fair. Congrats, Tards. Maybe if I fell down the stairs. That seems to be popular.

At last the Medal Ceremony: grand and celebratory and not at all about the "medals" but rather the grins and congrats and attaboys that made it clear that since real medals are made of smiles and hugs, then we were all winners. We waved to our parents, applauding in the bleachers, so very, very proud of us. Then, arm in arm, competitors turned comrades, we were herded into the nurse's tent and administered anti-inflammatories, anti-spasmodics, a soothing emetic, topical swabs soaked in numbing agents, and personalized psychotropic medleys containing such as chlorpromazine, nortriptyline, phenothiazine and the like.
Ahh. We'll get 'em next year.

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