On This Day, September 11

Posted on 11th Sep 2012 by ian under On This Day | No Comments »

On this day in 2001, of course, nearly 3000 people perished in the four suicide terrorist attacks in the United States.  I was sitting at my computer, early morning in Vanuatu with a beautiful, still lagoon outside as a backdrop.

Without going into all the detail, the events that day changed the course of my life and I’m pretty sure this blog would not be happening if it hadn’t.  It’s nothing dramatic – all I lost was a job.  But, rather than skim through history, births and other deaths, I’m going to post another reminder that life is short and should be lived to the fullest because you just never know what tomorrow might bring.  This is the post I did yesterday for Rydges about the closing ceremony at the London Paralympic Games… I received many emails saying that it resonated with readers, so…

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The London Paralympic Games have given me some marvellous memories.

Athletes like Matt Cowdrey, Jacqueline Freney, David Weir, Jonnie Peacock and Oscar Pistorius became household names.

It was 11 days of emotion, admiration, respect, enjoyment and understanding.

Like many of the 2.5million paying spectators and the billions watching on television around the world, I was transported from seeing disability to seeing ability.

The closing ceremony was a true celebration of individual excellence, of collective joy and an acknowledgment of what was the best ever Paralympic Games.

Admittedly I came to these Games with a new-found ‘interest’ in disability, having been diagnosed with MS since the previous Paralympic Games.

Initially I saw the athletes having a ‘special’ place to compete against others with similar disabilities – all with a back story of tragedy and/or struggle. I leave the Games with a different outlook.

All I see now is elite athletes with amazing abilities and attitudes, with a back story of ‘life’. These were not people with disabilities, deformity or disadvantage. These were people who had overcome birth defects, radical surgery, horrific accidents and injury in war to be the best they can be.

Crap happens to us all – how we deal with that crap results in what we are able to take from life. The meaning of life lies within each of us, not without. It is simply about finding your own Personal Best – the only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday. The medals we get, in sport and in life, are a bonus.  These Games were a celebration of life and human spirit. And the sport was terrific, too.