Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PS I Love You: From The Ironman

I have something to say about Ironman - the race, not the movie.

To begin with, I do not even run or do anything close to being athletic. But I think I am getting a little overdose on Ironman, for a good reason.

A couple of months ago, I received a video clip on the Hoyt Team. It was so moving that I became sensitive at the mention of 'Ironman'.

The father and son team, Dick and Rick Hoyt, completed an Ironman race recently. There is nothing too unusual about the story initially until it hit me that Rick, suffers from cerebral palsy at birth in 1962 after his umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck. Notwithstanding that, his dad, Dick, has been participating in nearly 1000 marathons and triathlons with him. Their incredible feat is founded on a simple belief that "THEY CAN".

In those demanding races, Dick would push his son in a wheelchair, dragged him on an inflatable boat in the water and Rick would sit in front of a specially-built bike during the cycling leg.

Isn't that something?

Not yet. Not until you have watched the
video played with the Australia Hillsongs, 'My Redeemer Lives' . Many who have done so had tears welling in their eyes, moved by the love of the father. I was one of them.

Not too long after that, Aviva Ironman was held here in Singapore. I did not follow the event closely but a particular story caught my eyes. This time, it did not inspire me at all.

During the race on 22 March, someone scattered metal tacks on the road. As a result, about 30 to 40 participants had their bike punctured by the tacks and had to drop out from the race.

The incident marred the sportsmanship spirit of the event and brought shame to the race and Singapore. Totally uninspiring! I fail to understand why anyone would want to even do that.

Last week, I spotted another story which re-inspired me.

It was reported in the news that, Anthony Paine (above), who moved to Singapore from UK 15 months ago, will be taking part in the upcoming Asian Women's Welfare Association School (AWWA) triathlon on 19 April.
AWWA is a school for disabled children.

He is a first timer in triathlon. He is a dad of a 10-year old boy, Ralph, who is disabled. He is inspired by the Hoyts. He is doing the race to help raise funds for AWWA . He is aiming to change the perceptions in Singapore about disabled children. But most of all, Anthony is in the race because he loves his son.

The race is not going to be easy for Anthony but he knows he will get the much needed encouragement when he said, "When I'm out with the push chair and the bike, Ralph looks back at me and gives me an absolutely beaming smile and that's all I need."

You too can encourage him on that day at the Changi Beach Park or by making a donation to AWWA.

Love can really push the physical limits of Dick Hoyt and Anthony Paine and allows them to discharge so much positive energy they probably never knew they had.

In life, we need all the strength to overcome trying moments we encounter from time to time. The last thing we want is to drain the precious energy in us. I preserve mine by not letting any negative thoughts intoxicate me. You can do the same too.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.

"Of all the judgments we pass in life, none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves." - Nathaniel Branden (Writer/Psychotherapist)

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