Achieving greatness in professional sport often comes with trophies, huge sums of money, endorsements and other benefits. But can greatness be defined simply as winning? Greatness isn't something only found on the sporting field - It's everywhere, within all of us. Greatness can take many different forms and certainly those below may agree...Those who compete with disabilities.
Can you name a sport in which disabled people compete against the able-bodied? Imagine a sport in which a person with no legs was expected to compete, on even terms with others who have the use of their own. Sounds unfair, yeah? Could you imagine a one armed person competing against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon? Or maybe someone with cerebral palsy competing against pro golfers on the World Tour. How about a double-amputee riding in the peloton in the Tour de France...Sounds rather ludicrous right?
I can't think of any sports in which a disabled sportsperson is expected to compete against abled-bodied competitors...Hang on, check that...There is one...Motor racing. In this sport the disabled, old, young, women and men all compete together.
Nathalie and many other disabled drivers compete in various motorsport events around the world with no handicap, no preferential treatment and no concessions for their handicapped status. I think that's awesome! You can read a little more about McGloin here if you would like. There's others too. src
Racers like Billy Monger, Alessandro Zanardi and Nicolas Hamilton come to mind; All racing drivers who have suffered horrific injuries or were born disabled but do not allow their disability to prevent them achieving their goals, their own version of greatness. These drivers strap themselves into race cars and mix it with able-bodied drivers on a level playing field and give, or ask, no quarter - Asking only to be treated the same and to have the chance to pursue their own personal greatness.
I've watched the video's above and still I can't imagine what it takes to achieve what they have. Mental toughness surely, but more than that. An incredible amount of determination and drive, ownership and persistence and a single-minded desire to overcome adversity for certain.
I applaud any who find it within themselves to tackle adversity head on; Those who don't allow failure or tragedy to destroy them...Those who choose to rise to the challenge, stand tall and face adversity. I believe we can learn a lot from these people, from disabled athletes and people in general who don't give in to the cruel hand they were dealt.
Achieving greatness isn't always about winning first place or having fame of fortune. It's about overcoming one's fear, getting back up when knocked down and finding the courage to overcome internal and external forces that can undermine confidence and hold a person in place.
Another person's definition of greatness may differ from your own and, indeed, you may not comprehend someone else's version of of it however that doesn't make their idea of greatness any less valuable or important than your own. Achieving greatness is not a condition reserved only for the sporting field...It's a daily thing and each person's idea of it is unique to them. I imagine that at one time or another those mentioned above might have judged greatness as getting through their day without pain.
Those I've mentioned in this post would likely not call themselves special. Disabled yes, but any more unique than you or I? No, I think not. They just get on with pursuing their idea of greatness with every fibre of their being...Because that's what it takes. We can learn a lot about the human spirit from people like these people.
What's your idea of greatness?
Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default