Archives for September 2012

We can all be Heroes

There was not a single swear-word to be heard on the London Underground but I did eavesdrop on several stories. One that stuck in my mind was that of a young girl who had lost her legs in an accident. She had not been interested in sport before but, as she lay in hospital, she watched the Beijing Olympics on television. Without a trace of self-pity, she chose there and then three sports and vowed that she would be in the London Paralympics. She was.
 
As we approached Stratford station, I wondered just how someone could pick themselves up at all, let alone so quickly, from such a devastating physical loss and I began to feel some of the spine-prickling anticipation of the events I was about to witness.
 
We dismounted from the train into a station full of smiles, with gates wide open with trust to make the passing through easy. As we made our way towards the Olympic Park volunteer games makers sat high above the crowd with loud speakers urging us to sing and laugh.
 
From the Park the stadium looked enormous. Now, I don’t like crowds and I don’t like noise. How was I going to cope with 80,000 people? As I climbed the stairs up to my seat, a race had just finished and the sound was deafening as everyone cheered, but the atmosphere was so electric that I was immediately transported into what seemed like a different world. Soon, Princess Kate, as I like to call her, was presenting a gold medal to a GB winner. We all went mad, getting to our feet and roaring like a proud, magnificent lion. Then we all sang the National Anthem. Have you ever been in a crowd of 80,000 people singing at the top of their voices? It’s mind-blowing! For once you love life, everyone else and even yourself!
 
Race after race demonstrated the unbelievable determination and perseverance of athletes who had conquered themselves, their disabilities and other people’s scorn and lack of faith. There was not an ounce of self-pity anywhere and it wasn’t long before we, the audience, caught on. When a three-sided tent made of net was set up we were ready to proclaim the magnificence of the human spirit. A totally blind athlete was led into the back of the tent and left alone. He turned, spun and hurled the heavy metal but it landed in the net. We were distraught. As the next competitor tried, we held our breath but the same thing happened. And again. And again. And again. When one of the athletes broke down and openly cried we knew we had to do something. Someone began a slow hand clap. As we all joined in, we began to get faster, willing the next athlete to succeed. He seemed to derive inspiration from the support and this time the discus missed the net and landed in the field. Beside ourselves with joy, we didn’t care what nationality he was. He’d done it! He’d succeeded! He’d proved the impossible could be done!
 
That evening proved to me that the human spirit can be heroic when in adversity. So the next time something gets you down, however trivial or huge, just remember that we can be an amazing species and lift ourselves, and others, up to unfathomable heights.
 
Be proud to be a human being. At our best, we can be extraordinary.
 
Have a happy Autumn.
 
Love Laurelle x