Thoughts of a Berry College Freshman Student-Athlete:
So we've all heard of something going on during the winter olympics in Sochi. We watched countries win medals, stories of athletes that can inspire anyone, and we watched as these athletes accomplished dreams. After the closing ceremonies our attention drew back to politics and whatever else happened to be concerning the world (Miley Cyrus, 2014 elections, et.)... and we forgot about the second round of winter olympics. Society forgot about the Winter Para-olympics.
When someone suffers an injury that they "cannot" fully recover from, we, the non-injured and non-disabled, have a tendency to stare. Let's face it - we are all guilty. Yet, we stare when they struggle. We rarely help them if we see them struggling. We often watch until someone gets the guts to break out of their "trance" to help the person.
Yet, we don't watch their success.
Nothing is more powerful, in my opinion, than seeing someone overcome challenges that are far beyond their control. Some of them were born with these challenges. Others received these challenges after an accident or illness of some sort.
Watching the para olympics reminds me of multiple things that we all should take into consideration...
1) Don't complain about having to do more work/harder work. Imagine how it would be, say, without an arm or leg. Be thankful for what you have.
2) Don't say "I can't". If people who are basically told they will never walk again can make it to the olympics for playing hockey and win gold - what's stopping you? Is it really that you can't or is it that you don't want to put forth the worth?
3) If there is a will, there is a way. Those who travel the road less traveled to find that way tend to be the strongest people in the world. When they break down crying after winning an olympic medal - realize there's more to what they have done than just competing on the international stage. They probably were told by multiple doctors "you can't". They had to fight twice as hard (at least) to be able to hear the words "you can" from someone.
I truly believe that it's the para-olympics that carry more of the olympic spirit that the highly viewed olympics. So now I wonder, why do we turn our eyes away from the success stories of the true athletes? Why do we simply forget that there is still another two weeks of intense competition going on after the first round of the Sochi Winter Olympics? Is it because we are afraid of seeing success? Are we ignorant because we see these athletes as "different"?
So next time you choose what you want to watch on television - you can watch the same stories over and over about politics, nonsense in Hollywood, drama on capital hill, or try to watch something that will actually get you inspired and realizing how lucky you are.
I say we stop "forgetting" about the para-olympics and cheer on the real athletes.