I am so excited that the Paralympics are now underway . . . and I am a little envious as well. Green around the gills. Eaten up with jealousy. You know what I mean right? I feel this way because I remember what it was like to compete in a home games, and the GB Team are getting to experience that right now.
To compete in a Paralympic Games means you are the best in your sport, it is special, astonishing, and confidence building and you never forget what it is like. To compete in a home Paralympic Games is to have a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent your country against other elite athletes with your country right there, behind you, supporting you, cheering, waving flags, clapping, calling your name, generally being with you in every dive, stroke, turn, and finish.
Let me describe to you a moment -
The stands were full, the crowd was already boisterous; flags were rippling and faces were painted in country colours. I sat in the marshaling room. Nervous chatter gushed from my quivering lips. Feeling cold and goose-pimply, I remember rubbing my arms, trying to maintain feeling and limberness. Just before walking out to the pool I managed a glance out of the rooms window into the crowd. There! Just there, close to the front and at the starting end of the pool. My nephew was holding a banner, a white slash through the sea of faces. Upon this banner he had written - "GO Aunty Bess." Stunned momentarily, I felt that feeling I had been waiting for. Here I was, about to swim in front of my family and friends and countrymen in the biggest moment of my career, and there was my nephew, my sweet, brown haired, excitable nephew cheering just for me. He had faith in me, he was proud of me, even before I had walked out and swum my race. A confidence surged through my veins. The adrenaline kicked in forcefully; my shivering stopped, my nervous chattering died; I knew what I had to do."
That moment . . . can you imagine it? This moment was right before I won my silver medal in the 400m Freestyle. I remember every moment of that race, every moment directly before and after. It is emotionally significant to me and I draw on these moments to motivate myself, to remind myself that as long as i do my best my family and friends (and most importantly myself) can be proud of me. Memories are so important, and we can all utilise our past moments to vitalise our futures.
For Team GB it is there home games and it will be filled with many moments that they will never forget, that they will draw on to inspire their future lives. What does this tell us?
We can find inspiration in our own lives if we look hard enough. What have you achieved that further inspires you?