9/12/16

What we can learn from Paralympic athletes


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I don't believe that life is perfect and that you always need to be happy to live a good life.
But I've always considered myself a positive person, trying to see the bright side in every situation.

My dad was always happy - he never seemed to have a bad day. Nothing ever bothered him. It was truly remarkable how he lived his life, which was sadly cut short due to cancer at the young age of 67. 



Now more than ever, I try to live with a mindset similar to my dad's, where I always try to wake-up excited for another day of life and look to experiences, nature, travel and other people for inspiration.

As you know, I am extremely passionate about sports, specifically swimming, cycling, running and triathlon. 
I just love watching the human body in action.


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I'm not sure if you are following the paralympics, as there is little TV coverage in the US (aside from NBC sports) but I strongly encourage you to watch and follow these incredible athletes in action.


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Sadly, you won't see many of these athletes interviewed on TV, in magazines or in a commercial because most of the press supports able-bodied athletes.
It's as if a disability discriminates against what it means to be a true athlete, thus the lack of attention from the media on the paralympic athletes in Rio.


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Athletes are always a source of inspiration because of their hard work, dedication and ability to overcome the odds.

But I can't imagine a better group of deserving individuals to look up to than the paralympic athletes (or any athlete with a disability for that matter).


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The world does not cater to disabled individuals. It can be hard to find accessible ways to get around easily and safely and it can also be very costly to be a disabled individual.

For the disabled or impaired individual who is also an athlete, it can be very difficult to find access to coaching, therapy and other services, not to mention the cost of specific gear, clothing and travel.

But, as we all know, sports are an outlet for many individuals and for the disabled, sports have shown these incredible human beings that there is ability within a disability. 


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I feel that this world needs to witness more amazing sporting achievements by paralympic athletes. I feel our world would be a better place. You watch an athlete swim without arms and suddenly, your "bad" swim workout isn't really worth complaining about.
Or, you complain about not having energy to train yet imagine how much work it takes a swimmer, with no arms or no legs, to not only swim but get to the pool and dress for swim practice.

The next time you find yourself complaining about something meaningless, stressing over something small or worrying about something that is not important, I consider you to think about the athletes who have learned how to rise up from hardship with focus, determination, a positive mindset.
It doesn't matter who you are as an athlete, but you must have the strength to move forward in life, without excuses for what could have or should have been.



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Paralympic athletes push the limits as to what is humanly possibly by the human body.
These athletes are living life to the fullest because they are not willing to settle.
They have goals and you better believe they find a creative way to reach them.
They are overcoming disabilities in order to live very productive, meaningful and happy lives, all while inspiring others in the process. 



When an individual becomes an athlete, he/she gains self esteem, determination, courage and confidence. 



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For those who are missing a limb (or three), are visually impaired, have brain or nerve damage, cerebral palsy, MS or have a learning or movement disability......

We must remember that these athletes are human.
Even if an athlete has physical or mental impairment, we should treat them with the same respect, attention and notoriety as the able-body athletes.


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The next time you are having a bad day or you feel like nothing is going right, I encourage you to change your perspective of your current situation.
Is it really the worst day of your life?
Is everything really going wrong right now?
Do you really wish that you were not alive right now?


It's ok to be mad, upset or frustrated but sometimes it doesn't hurt to think a bit differently and remember the people in this world who may not have the easy life that you are living, yet refuse to give up on making the impossible possible.