All week long in the news and on social media you’ve likely seen stories about this week last year. This was the week when the full weight of COVID-19 made itself felt.
There was a declaration by WHO that this was indeed a
pandemic. An NBA game was called off moments before tipoff, only to lead to the
league canceling games entirely. Concert venues once filled to capacity fell
silent. Schools and workplaces shuttered. Fear reigned.
What was the last thing you remember doing in the time
before everything changed?
As we relive those days, we’re reminded of the parts of life
we really care about that we lost, and we’re encouraged that better days lie
ahead as vaccinations take hold. That was certainly the case for NASCAR fans
who had the chance to connect with Michael Waltrip via a Zoom meeting recently.
A bit of background here: Last year, five people supported
by Bethesda – our “ambassadors” – had the opportunity to attend the NASCAR Cup
Series-Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway in California. Their purpose was
to kick off National Developmental
Disabilities Awareness Month with the race being on March 1, days before
shutdowns began. These individuals, all big NASCAR fans, enjoyed every minute
of the day, from being up on stage in front of 80,000 fans to getting pace car
rides with NASCAR legend and Fox Sports commentator Michael Waltrip.
Recently, Waltrip generously took time to catch up with
three of the ambassadors – Jordan Flemming, Carl Riker and Chris Thompson – over
a Zoom call (where else these days?). Everyone eagerly reminisced about that
unforgettable Sunday afternoon. You can watch the full conversation at IncludeAllAbilities.com/Waltrip.
Waltrip said has given many pace car rides over the years,
but these stood out to him. “The smiles just seemed bigger,” said the two-time
winner of the Daytona 500. “They really enjoyed the opportunity to get out on
that big racetrack and see what it’s like. Sharing that with them and taking
pictures, it was a day that will live in my memory forever.”
The ambassadors not only looked back at what they had shared
together, but also anticipated the future with the hope of doing something so
cool once again. And while we still live in a mostly virtual world, we can look
Start thinking about things you and your loved
one may want to do together, or in a group (won’t THAT be nice). Maybe pick a
date or two. Buy some tickets. That will make it more “real.” And for sure,
when it’s your time, get vaccinated! Let’s begin to make new memories that we
can look back on fondly a year from now.