OANSA: The Greatest of these is Love.

July 21, 2012

I was getting so fed up with all the whining at OANSA this morning. Everything was being met with these horrible nasally “Nooooooooo’s.” When even a large twelve-year-old stamped their foot and spouted off, I couldn’t take it anymore. I paused the relays and gave the group a little verbal spanking.

“You guys are acting like babies! You are better than this and we expect more out of you. I want to see high fives, good sportsmanship, and all of you channeling this energy into team cheers so loud you scare these stray dogs out of the plaza.”

The kids squirmed and I could hear many muttering under their breath.

Things continued with only a small degree of improvement as they instead moved onto to cheating and shoving, which are also unfortunately regular tendencies. Some Saturdays really feel like a losing battle.


F is one of our most faithful OANSA girls. She has some sort of developmental disability that makes it impossible for her to process information and follow verbal instruction. There seems to be an unspoken understanding that when she wishes to participate in the games, she has free reign to kind of do whatever she wants even if that means cutting corners and not completing the tasks we demand from the rest.

Although we as leaders try to regulate as much as we can, the kids are not always kind.


I could hear the whining starting to seep back in despite my mini lecture a few minutes prior. I sighed in resignation and tried to get at least the Red Team to clap for their teammates. This was also futile as they were a full three individuals behind the dominating Equipo Azul.

F’s turn came up and unlike her previous two turns when she ran amok or held onto a leader’s hand, I stood humbled as T stepped up and gently linked her arm through F’s, and walked her around the cones.

“Easy. Take it easy. This way. Follow me. You’re doing great.”

In the middle of a noisy scene of jeers, complaints, and competition was an oasis of character and leadership initiative like none I had ever seen before in Primero de Marzo. There was T patiently guiding F at a less than clipping pace all the way around to complete a full lap, impervious to the fact that their team was sinking further and further away from the much coveted win.

All of us leaders glanced at each other simultaneously, our eyes brimming with tears and hearts swollen with pride. This was love in its purest and a huge victory on any day.

And you know what? The Red Team came back and won.


One Response to “OANSA: The Greatest of these is Love.”

  1. Joy Brougher Says:

    Lauren….very touching account of Oansa today…it was like I was there and understood what you were talking about. But T’s coming through in such a non-selfish way touched me also. Now I’m smiling… : )

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