Just for a Day
Just for a day I forget about seizures, about IEPs and lurking surgeries. Just for a day, I sit on my couch and shush my children so I can hear who won gold; I get on my feet and cheer for every athlete; I look on in amazement as a guy with one leg hops over a high jump. Just for a day (or so) I was glued to the Paralympics and I was moved.
Here in America the week was spent chewing on political speeches and chanting now familiar slogans: We built it and We’ve got your back. To that I say, yes, you did indeed build it London, and the people filled it and the crowds had the athletes’ backs. I’ll definitely have Victoria Arlen and Ellie Simmonds’ backs when they compete in Rio – two very different swimmers who spur each other on to greatness. And yes, let’s Move America Forward starting with more media coverage of such inspirational events and greater opportunities for people with disabilities to contribute and thrive. But Hope and Change won’t come from a broken political system or politicians that don’t make room for others. It will come from the people, lots and lots of people who are rich in our differences.
At the closing ceremonies of the Games, 84,000 people along with 4,200 athletes from different nations, practicing different faiths, speaking different languages, with very different bodies fill the stadium united in celebration. Just for a day there is no pity, no “I could never do that,” no weird staring. There are only raised expectations, making room for someone different, truly seeing people through their stories and accomplishments, a fuller vision of humanity.
I want the vision of IPC President Sir Philip Craven’s 5 year old grandson. While reading a book with a friend, they saw a picture of a man with a patch on his eye, a peg leg, and a parrot on his shoulder. His friend asked, “Is that a pirate?” Craven’s grandson said, “Hmmmm…one leg? He must be an athlete.”
Just for a day – no seizures, no struggles, no discussions about medication, no backsliding, no therapy. Just hope and triumph and celebration.
Just for a day, and hopefully, the start of every new day.
Just for a day they are celebrating the Games Makers in London so this post is dedicated to my friend and Games Maker Margaret. See you in Rio.
You can read the rest of my paralympic coverage starting here.
Linking up today with A Mom Who Writes.