Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Sport makes you whole."

Bob Babbitt in his speech at the start of my race this weekend said,

"I believe that sport makes you whole."

I never really thought about it but it is so true. If I didn't have sports, fitness, athletics, a way to move my body and do something or achieve something I would feel incomplete. This organization that I was racing to raise money for, Challenged Athletes Foundation, gives people who have had sports taken away from them by having no legs or missing an arm or being paraplegic or quadriplegic or in my niece's case having cerebral palsy and not being able to participate in sport or fitness as most people do, the very thing that makes many of us whole.

This organization gets these individuals what they need to compete and to be an athlete. It was amazing to see these challenged athletes pushing their limits with sport and getting the feeling of achieving something. Many of them had bikes especially made for their disability, in the swim they had a partner either that they held their feet or that helped them to swim and a number of them have running legs which are prosthetic legs to run on. There were also two 8 year old boys who were double amputee, with no legs who did the kids swim and their dads grabbed them when they finished seeing their son for the first time accomplish a sport- it was so emotional.

I was with a guy on the bike most of the way who had one arm and this was his first triathlon and he was having a blast and so excited to be a part of it. He did the mile swim, the 56 mile ride and the half marathon. Imagine riding a bike with one arm. I know it seems like, with one arm you could do it but your balance and everything has to be off. He was kicking my butt though.

Sport makes you whole really means a lot more after seeing all of these people be a part of sports and athletics when something as simple as jump roping at school with the other kids may have never been an option for them. It also makes me appreciate being able to participate in an event like this and that I am able to do a Half Ironman and can do whatever I want physically. It reminds me not to take advantage of that or take advantage of the feeling of being able to do a sport and accomplish something physically.

Thank you for the amazing, inspiring event CAF! I was honored to be a part of it and look forward to it next year.