Mark Hayward's City Matters: Special Olympian says price to Plunge too high
We keep them simple. We expect everyone to follow them. And we get aggravated when people break the rules and get away with it, for example an allegedly tipsy politician who kills ducks or an off-duty cop who allegedly splits after running into a couple of teenage pedestrians.
Kimball, 41, is a developmentally disabled adult with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He loves Special Olympics and has competed in Special Olympic games for decades. He's a global messenger for the organization, meaning he gives speeches about Special Olympics.
But last year, the Manchester resident didn't take the Plunge. He was refused after raising about half of the minimum $350 entry fee. This year he didn't even try.
"So I shouldn't have expectations for a person with developmental disabilities?" Conroy said. "We try 365 days a year to look at our athletes as athletes and contributing members of our society."
His first year of the Penguin Plunge, he raised $700, he said. His annual collections fell slightly the following years. In 2012, he raised a little short of $500, his worst until last year, when he collected only $150.
He said he was turned away when he tried to register at the office.
"If he has done nothing, I will do nothing," she said. "It's not about the Penguin Plunge. Our conversation is about people with developmental disabilities."
Consistently, the athletes have told organizers that they want referees to follow the rules when officiating, she said.
Shall we be as unyielding as a polar vortex and stick by the rules? It's fair, it's simple, it works. Or do we bend a fraction? A little warmth is good, but too much heat can melt everything away.
"The moment we compromise the integrity of the event," she said, "then it gets cloudy."
Mark Hayward's City Matters runs Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and on UnionLeader.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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