A letter to Special Olympics Virginia

Athlete and Staff Member, Daniel Morales, reflects on his journey at Special Olympics Virginia

Dear Special Olympics Virginia,

In the summer of 2010, I joined the Lake Braddock Bruins track and field team as a part of my introduction to this wonderful world of sports and competition. Now, a little over 12 years later, I am walking away from this wonderful state and starting a new chapter in Pennsylvania, which is, from what I understand, much smaller than the program here, and therefore, more room to hold my giant inflatable ego.

I have had SO many memories here in Virginia that I will carry for the rest of my life, and it all started later that summer, after my introduction to track and field in Virginia when I was asked to do the torch run with the Alexandria Police Department. Starting that year, and that event, I forged friendships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

After the Torch Run, I entered my first season as a basketball player as part of the White Oak Panthers basketball team. There, I met people that I have gone through the same challenges that I have. I consider all of them, old friends and new, to be a part of my second family. We all have literally grown up together, hanging out with them, and competing with them (and occasionally against them), has given me memories that I will never forget.

But Special Olympics has offered me so much more than just sports and friends. It has offered me something much more valuable: opportunities. I have had the chance to do so many more opportunities here in Virginia than anywhere else. From doing radio spots to emceeing events, and calling Basketball games, to spending a weekend at beautiful Virginia Beach for our Polar Plunge and getting to count down everyone plunging into the water, Special Olympics Virginia has given me memories that will follow me for the rest of my life.

Coolest Minute in Plunge - Episode 2

Why, just this month, I got to go to Orlando for the USA games, for my biggest adventure ever. There, I interviewed everyone from regular athletes and volunteers to WWE wrestlers to the reigning Mrs. America. I even got to bro hug Warren Sapp AND hi-five the Undertaker!

Special Olympics has given me confidence and the ability to believe in myself. It has helped me understand my full potential, as well as my true calling in life, and my true place. Which, is if you haven`t guessed yet, behind a microphone!

All in all, I just want to say thank you. Thank you to the wonderful athletes that I have competed against and with for so many years. Thank you to the amazing coaches that pushed me to be my best. Thank you to the amazing Law enforcement that cheers me on every time I take the field. And THANK YOU to my amazing coworkers here at Special Olympics Virginia. You all have made coming to work so much fun and so rewarding.

From the bottom of my heart thank you Special Olympics Virginia. And for one last time, D out.