Monday, August 6, 2012

GOING FOR THE GOLD

I hadn't planned to blog about the Olympics. What could I write about? My personal experience competing in sports consists of being forced to shoot a bb gun and bow and arrow at targets while at summer camp and an ill fated attempt to play baseball in a gym class in high school. (Every time I was at bat and the pitcher threw the ball I closed my eyes. It wasn't pretty.) Even though my three older brothers love sports, sports just aren't my thing.

Every few days I visit the website for the Today Show to see what stories they are covering. Last week I saw an interview with a young man from South Africa named Oscar Pistorius. Oscar Pistorius is a double amputee who is a runner in track and field. The men's 400 meter to be exact. He races on prosthetic limbs. I was amazed! He ran so fast! It took many years for Oscar to get to the Olympics. People said that his prosthetic legs gave him an unfair advantage over other runners because the blades on his prosthetic legs allowed him to run faster. Oscar went through extensive testing to prove the naysayers wrong. Last Saturday Oscar's dream of competing in the Olympics became a reality. He finished second in his race allowing him to advance to the semi-finals where he finished twenty-third out of twenty-four. It doesn't matter in what place Oscar finished. What matters is that he raced against able-bodied competitors. He achieved his goal. He didn't let what others said or thought deter him. Oscar believed and he did it.

I believe people with disabilities go for the gold all the time. Each time a person with a disability reaches a goal, that others have told them is impossible for them to achieve, is a gold medal moment in their life. One of my gold medal moments was getting a part-time job at St. Louis Community College at Meramec after my Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor told me I'd never find emplyment becase I need assistance with personal needs. (This was before the ADA was passed.) I proved my counselor wrong by creating a job for myself. I taught classes in computer software on an individualized basis of two students per class. It was offered through the Continuing Education Department. I retired in 2005.

Oscar Pistorius is an inspiration to all of us. .Through his racing he's shown us that no matter what your limitations are, with hard work and determination, you can achieve your dreams.