Sunday, May 02, 2010
Many, maybe most, people have never heard of Ron Scott, Tomi Keitlen or Adi Hofbauer.
Ron was a squash player before he was drafted into the Korean War where a sniper shot away Ron's right arm. The sport had kept him in good shape and when he recovered from his wound he continued playing squash, lefthanded.
Tomi became blind after several operations when she was thirty-two years old. She believed in herself and decided her handicap would not stand in her way of doing the things she enjoyed. And it didn't. She became a swimmer, golfer and a mountain climber with the assistance of directions a guide dictated into a tape recorder. Tied to him by a rope, she listened to "Move your foot about four inches to the left..." Amazingly Tomi also learned to snow ski, setting her instructor up with a bell that he rang whenever there was a dip in the track.
The loss of an arm does not also bring loss of hope, claimed Adi Hofbauer, a one-armed skier who often competed in Austria. "After mastering the lack of the arm, I felt all the stronger, all the more sure of myself -- on skis as well as in life," he said proudly.
No, most people have never heard of Ron Scott, Tomi Keitlen or Adi Hofbauer but they likely know the name Al Capp, the famed cartoonist, who lost a leg in 1919 when he was run over by a trolley car. He said he stumbled and limped hard at first trying to adjust but soon considered his wooden leg as a "useful, rather good-looking gadget."
The common denominator with all four of these people, and thousands more like them? They refused to allow serious physical problems to dictate their lives.
How much more fortunate are we who have our arms and legs and eyesight? But we still create excuses why we can't execise a few minutes every day. Forget playing the tough sport of squash or skiing or mountain climbing. Just walking or doing chair exercises for a few minutes a day. That's all that is being asked of us as we pursue our weight loss and fitness goals.
Doing so, being committed, is simple compared to overcoming the handicaps of these four intrepid souls who displayed the willpower to achieve despite their setbacks.
If they could do so, can't we?