...quiet, about a lot of things...

Monday, May 22, 2006

Reality check

The thing that I keep most quiet about, is my disability. I was born with slight CP or a bracial plexic head injury..or an in utero stroke...ok SOMETHING happened to me..my left side is perfectly normal...my right side slightly impaired...and my coordination is not normal to the right. Remember I mentioned I tend to trip alot...and I also mentioned that I ride horses.

Truth is I'm trying to go to the Paralymics in Bejiing in two years. This week I went to a clinic with the paralympic coach. He is a very nice man, a good coach, and has a slighty off color sense of humor. We get along just fine.

Most, I'd say 95% of my life, is spent with "able bodied" people. I say 95% because I teach special needs kids...so I do deal with learning and behavioral disabilities all the time. My horse life has me competing and training with "normal" athletes. "Normal" is a major faux pax in disability speak...but I'm not very PC..I compete against..and have been known to beat other athletes all the time. I like this. Discovering that I was an athlete was one of the most important things that has ever happened to me.

This weeks clinic was held for disabled riders only. The show that followed was for both able bodied and disabled alike.

Competing against other disabled athletes is very new to me..and one of the most diffucult things I have ever done. These women and men are truely people that I look to as icons of courage. There are different "grades" of disabilities. Grade I riders are usually quad or paraplegics. Some hold the reins in their teeth..Grade IV riders are the most able bodied. They can be amputees of one limb or have a disability such that it mimumally affects their range of motion..such as polio effects. I am a grade III rider...somewhere in the middle..upper functionality. You only compete against people in your own grade....like against like. This grading process is intensive and very accurate and specific.

The problem is that its hard to compete against people you don't want to beat. When I compete against normal athletes, I want to beat them. Be it a jumping competion, or "Dressage"..(french for anal...just kidding) my job is to do the best I can and if my best, beats their best...all the better. I have made alot of friends by showing that hard work and sheer stubborness can produce rich rewards. I
have also picked up a few enemies along the way....some people can't stand to be beat by me...It really messes with their egos...

This weekend was hard because I had no desire to be better than any of my fellow competitors. I had the desire to learn from them, help them the best I could and promote their efforts..My killer instinct was shorn off me, leaving me a lamb.

I didn't check the scores to see which of us had done the best. I have clearly stepped into an arena with true champions... I have a feeling that this will be quite a test.
posted by wendy at 7:44 AM


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