We might not get everything right when it comes to sports. But the Special Olympics has it figured out — emphasizing the good of sports, and letting everything else follow. March has been the former state, a wonderful combination of the start of March Madness and a collection of shocking NBA, MLB and NFL trades and contract negotiations. Even storylines such as the U.S. women’s soccer team’s lawsuit, which typically would garner top attention, have struggled to maintain a presence in the nightly headlines. This is a common battle in any sort of oversaturated news environment, where no single story can reign supreme unless it holds an otherworldly, overarching importance — LeBron James leaving Cleveland, for example. The past week has certainly been that way for the USC community, from admissions scandals and tragedy to the announcement of our new president. And no sector of news suffers from these crashing waves of news more than sports, where trade deadlines and playoff schedules construct timelines that move from wildly hectic to shockingly dull on a regular basis. Today, on the day of the Games’ closing ceremonies, I think it’s important to spend at least a moment appreciating the athletes who represented the U.S. over the past week. At the end of the Special Olympics, the U.S. has won almost 200 medals — 69 gold, 55 silver and 67 bronze. Nothing ever happens neatly, one by one, allowing proper time to rest and recuperate before the next news item comes along. When news happens, it’s typically a downpour, and in the deluge it’s often easy to miss out on much of what is happening. Often, we see how sports bring out the worst in one another. When spectators yell at athletes, when fans fight on Twitter, when stories of corruption and abuse and scandal dominate the sports news cycle, it’s sometimes difficult to believe that the good of sports could possibly outweigh the bad. But the Special Olympics has always been a counter to that, at least for me. It’s a reminder of the joy and love that sports can create and the way in which sports can connect people across any difference of culture or ability. But this week, unfortunately, the rush of recent news overshadowed an event that often gets pushed to the back burner of sports media. Last Thursday, the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics took place in Abu Dhabi, bringing together thousands of athletes from almost 200 countries. Of course, the importance of this event runs much deeper than just medals and on-the-field accolades. For these athletes, the Special Olympics offers the same intangibles that any other Olympic athlete would receive. It’s a chance to experience other cultures, deepen team relationships and create new ones around the world. It’s an opportunity to showcase years of hard work and to receive international recognition for their dedication. One of the best lessons I’ve learned over eight years of student journalism is that news comes in waves. Maybe you weren’t aware of the Special Olympics, or didn’t follow it closely during this year’s Games. That’s completely OK — as a sports fan, it’s hard to keep up with everything, and this year’s Special Olympics slipped under the radar. But I hope that they will continue to inspire people, those who love sports and those who just love others, to support and further this organization. Julia Poe is a senior writing about her personal connection to sports. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs weekly on Thursdays. I served as a Special Olympics coach in high school, and I’ve seen firsthand the impact that this organization can have on athletes of all ages. Over the past week, that impact has been beautifully illustrated — from the power lifter who impressed Arnold Schwarzenegger to the athlete who hit a 75-foot full-court shot to beat the buzzer. The Special Olympics is a place that creates joy, and the entirety of the past week’s events have been filled with it. The event was met with a scattering of press awareness here in the U.S., as outlets such as ESPN interspersed its typical coverage with content and clips of events. Most of this coverage took place on social media, but it was few and far between, easy to miss amid headlines about Mike Trout and Le’Veon Bell’s contracts. In fact, most sports fans in America are likely unaware that halfway around the world, hundreds of U.S. athletes are competing in the biggest event of their lives.
On the eve of tomorrow’s school strikes, a disgruntled Donegal teacher has slammed the Teachers Union of Ireland for the stance they have taken.The teacher, who asked not to be named, has written an open letter to TUI President and Donegal native Joanne Irwin.In the letter, the teacher explains that he no longer feels his union represents his interests. This is his letter.Donegal Daily welcomes responses from all interested parties.Dear Ms Irwin,“I would like to convey my disgust at the recent comments you have made in relation to the current situation regarding the ASTI strike. “As a member of the TUI in Donegal, I am ashamed at the stance that my union is taking, by criticising a union that has the nerve to stand up to a government that has broken promise after promise. Having spoken to other teachers in the past few weeks about their reasons for voting yes in the last election, it is clear that they voted based on the TUI recommendation and now regret their choice.“I heard you last summer talking about Croke Park hours and despite the poor effort that you made to illustrate what they were, I noticed that you were staunchly opposed to them. However, upon your election you seemed to have forgotten your opposition and gave in to the Government’s demands without a fight. By recommending a ‘yes’ vote, you showed the government that the TUI are pushovers and that the government can get what they want through threatening teachers.“As it stands, the TUI have accepted Landsdowne and it has accepted the new Junior Cert, which is beyond a joke, with teachers correcting the work and it being meaningless to the students, who have put so much effort into their project work. The ASTI are still refusing to accept a flawed system and are refusing to accept the broken promises of a weak government. If I had a choice, I know which union I would prefer to be a member of.“Back to Landsdowne. Your selling point last year was on two points. One, a threat that FEMPI would be implemented, which it hasn’t and two, that we would receive payment for substitution and supervision, which amounts to little or nothing in the grand scheme of things.“Ask teachers what really matters and they will tell you that it is the thirty-three hours unpaid work that is the biggest problem in terms of our work. That and the inequality that exists in relation to new entrants, not to mention the fact that the TUI have stood by and watched the casualisation of teaching jobs, with many teachers waiting almost a decade to get a full-time job. “For you to come out and criticise the ASTI is unfathomable. Is it because they are showing what weak negotiators you and your team are? Or are you really on the side of Richard Bruton and the government because in my eyes, you either stand with the ASTI or you keep quiet. Cheerleading for Landsdowne is a despicable act and it has enraged ordinary teachers on the ground.“It is becoming abundantly clear that the TUI no longer represents the voice of teachers. The ASTI are teachers, the TUI is made up of FETAC instructors, teachers and lecturers. How can FETAC instructors and lecturers vote on issues affecting teachers, when they are not cognisant of the finer details of what teaching is about?“As a paying member of a union that I feel no longer represents my interests, but that of an executive eager to please its masters, I will be re-evaluating my membership of the organisation and also urging others to do likewise. We are not paying for you to be a mouthpiece for the government, to cheerlead for Richard Bruton in the hope you might get a pat on the head for a job well done.“We are paying you to fight for us as teachers, this is something you seem to have forgotten, but you will start to remember when union fees are no longer paid. I can only urge you for the rest of strike campaign to stay quiet, to say nothing because nothing will deflect from the lack of courage shown by the TUI and when it is contrasted with the ASTI, is all the more clear. “As a teacher who has still not got CID (full-time job), I will have to send this anonymously, as I am aware that a dissenting voice would not be welcome.”Donegal teacher’s angry open letter to TUI on eve of school strikes was last modified: October 26th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)