Recently I heard Scout speak about the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF).
Scout shared her amazing story of being born in China, loosing a leg as an infant, and living in an orphanage till age 7 (during which time she was forced into child labor, torchered, lived in social isolation).
Then at age 13 while living in Michigan, CAF gave her a prosthetic leg that enabled her to be active & play sports. Now she has the best of life — loving parents, a supportive community, an academic scholarship at UCLA, and she’s competes all around the world.
When I heard Scout speak her goal was to sign-up people for the “Tour de Cove” triathlon in October. She succeeded, because by the end of she speech I registered to swim.
Here’s Scout’s story with CAF
Listening to Scout speak reminded me of a brief encounter I had with a paralyzed athlete. A few years back I was riding by the beach, about 1/2 way through a 40 mile ride when a female paralyzed cyclist rode past me using a hand bike.
At the time my mind game was telling me to stop the ride early, but the paralyzed woman inspired me to complete the ride. A few minutes later she started to pass me again, and I told her she was an inspiration. With that she snapped — “fuck you”. Instantly I knew my encouraging words were really an insult. I believe she didn’t want to be an inspiration. Rather she wanted to be seen as someone like me – someone riding a bike and enjoying the day.
After learning about Scout’s mental/physical challenges and thinking of the passing cyclist, I was reminded to respect them not for what they are missing, but for who that are — amazing people.