When I thought about training for the Olympics I visualized a training mintage. I saw the work, dedication, sacrifice, and endless hours in the gym…. All of that has been true. What I did not know is the emotional depth of the experience. I am even keel. More accurately I *Used* to be even keel. Now I feel all the emotions at once. I am grateful, I am intimidated, I am hopeful I am nervous. If I am even keel today it is only because my emotions are equally strong in opposite directions J
My mind races with all the people to thank. There are the more imitate gratitude’s. I am endlessly grateful to my coach, guide, USAT, #TeamCaf…. There are flashes of people to thank from long ago. Gratitude to my track coach from Snohomish High School, Tuck Ginette (RIP). Mr. Ginette was the first who saw me as an athlete. I didn’t feel separate from the team as a lesser peace. His encouragement was the first time I wasn’t fast for a blind girl, I was just one of the fast girls. At the age of 17 I did not have sense enough to recognize how that change would inform the way I saw myself. That was my first taste of understanding the difference between perceived limitation and a concrete limitation.
I was recently asked what I would tell a young person with a disability. Disabled, blind, sighted, able-bodied the same; the world around you is prepped and ready to define you by your deficiency. Offer the world some new information. Serve up some examples of all the things you can do. Find something that defines you based on a strength. Whatever it is that you feel is your strength make that a rallying point. This is not to impress others, this is to have a home-based for those moments when you’re discouraged.