You may not change the world, but you can change someone’s world

Over 70 members of the Procter & Gamble (P&G) ASEAN team spent a games afternoon with athletes from Special Olympics Singapore on September 7, interacting through bocce, soccer, field hockey, basketball and badminton.

A Meaningful Experience

Bocce, one of Special Olympics' most popular sports, was one of several sports played.

The spirited afternoon left a meaningful impression on the P&G staffers – many have expressed their desire to be further involved with Special Olympics Singapore’s activities, and have shared their positive experience with other colleagues and friends.

For P&G Brand Manager Vineet Kumar who played basketball with the athletes, the afternoon reminded him the purity of the game, giving him a new appreciation of it.

“Basketball is a game I have loved to play ever since I was in high school. I was so passionate about it because it had loads of aggression, needed a whole lot of teamwork, coordination and quite frankly made you look ultra cool among your peers. A couple of years back I had a torn ligament in my knee, which is quite common among people who play this sport regularly. However, since the corrective surgery, I never really got back to the game for fear of tearing it again. And my love for basketball faded slowly, until I did not miss it as much anymore.

An Unexpected Event

Players duking it out on Floor Hockey.

On September 7, 2011, an unexpected event changed this. We were at the ASEAN Leadership Summit and it was announced that we would be having teambuilding games. As I grumpily dragged myself home to change into my sports attire, I kept thinking how it was probably going to be another “Treasure Hunt” or one of those games designed by Corporate Event firms with really wacky names which are intended to give you lessons in team spirit and leadership. So when I heard that we were going to be playing actual sports with kids who are from the Special Olympics team, I was taken aback. This is something I had never heard of and I really did not know what to expect. And as fate had it, I was “randomly” assigned to the sport of basketball.   

Special Olympics is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing sports training and competitions to children with intellectual disabilities. It uses sport as a vehicle to give these children opportunities to develop physical fitness, self esteem and confidence, and become productive, respected members of society.

Change Someone's World

"These kids changed my world," said P&G Brand Manager Vineet Kumar.

As we reached the school, we were taken through a quick briefing on the Special Olympics program which had a line that stayed with me “You may not change the world, but you can change someone’s world.”  I felt good that I was going to be contributing to a good cause by taking part in this event. As we were guided towards the court and I caught my first glance of our opponents, I felt a little shiver down my spine. These kids looked like they were going to give us a run for our money. And they really did! We kept substituting our players just so we could catch our breath and keep up with them while they continued to play quarter after quarter. They had immense skill and their game had a dignity I had not seen in all my years of playing basketball because they did not swear, hardly committed a violation and played the game with a smile on their face.

Not only was I humbled by the whole experience, but it also reignited my passion for the game and it reminded me, why I loved it so much in the first place. I am even considering playing with them more regularly on a voluntary basis. It is true, you may not change the world, but you can change someone’s world.  In this case, these kids changed mine.”