Sportsmen who Make the World Great

11 Sep

For some time I’ve been meaning to blog about the great sportsmen of the world. Today is the day – not necessarily because of Andy Murray. By the way, as a special follower of mine in Scotland would concur, this will certainly make Murray British and leave “the Scot” in the tramlines…

The Brits have had a great sporting summer. Not just Murray’s magnificent triumph at the NY Grand Slam and his Olympic medal, but the myriad of other gold medal winners as well. I thought little could touch the achievement of the diminutive Mo Farah’s 5,000  and 10,000 metre double. And Jessica Ennis who waded in for the sportswomen. This, of course, coming on the heels of one of the toughest sporting events won by Bradley Wiggins, namely the Tour de France.

Nothing can detract from the effort and professionalism of these champions. But thinking of them is actually missing my point.

Last Saturday, by chance, I happened to witness a mind-changing match; the quad tennis final in the Paralympics. The game was contested between David Wagner, an American born with a muscular deformity, and Noam Gershony. He’s a 28 year-young Israeli paralysed from the waist down after surviving a near fatal crash of the helicopter he was flying in 2006. He witnessed the death of his co-pilot and was himself hospitalized for about two years. He took up tennis as part of his rehabilitation.

For those who have never watched the disabled play tennis, they maneuver the wheelchair with one hand at incredible speed all over the court – while holding the racquet in the other. In Wagner’s case, the racquet was strapped to his hand. Gershony won the match – and I shared his tears at the medal ceremony. But did you see the chap who got the bronze? He didn’t seem to have full function of either of his arms! How do they do it? From whence comes their courage, their will to continue?

I have no idea. But having seen them, I can feel the surge of strength and hope they have given me. Nothing is impossible for these guys – they are truly inspirational. I’m sure that their example – together with my brother-in-law Keith’s rigorous diet – are reason for my improvement this week.

I don’t wish to be part of the debate about the difference being born with a physical disability and becoming disabled through an accident in the prime of life.  All I can say to fellow pancreatic cancer sufferers is that we have to see our illness as being surmountable. Let’s take the strength from whatever source.

One Response to “Sportsmen who Make the World Great”

  1. angiemaus September 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Amen to that!

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