I can’t let the Paralympics go by without saying what an extraordinary, extraordinary, EXTRAORDINARY group of people the athletes are. Not to mention their dedicated teams and families. The gigantic physical and mental exertions to be the best they can be in the face of stupendous odds, leave me lost for words. The medals have been coming in droves, and it’s only afterwards that you hear of some of the privations and the ruthless discipline they have exercised in order to get to this point.
It’s bound to change the way we ‘see’ disability, if ‘we’ need to change – though I think our nation is pretty good, especially in comparison with other countries.
It also puts our own, much lesser challenges into perspective. It doesn’t make them go away, of course, but it inspires us to roll up our sleeves and believe that we can do this, whatever it is that we’re struggling with. If they can have a fighting spirit and fierce determination, maybe we can too.
It’s also worth remembering that our parathletes have dedicated friends and supporters and would not have reached such heights without their back-up teams and coaches, who give and give and give. That’s another lesson to take out of their book, perhaps. When we’ve got a mountain to climb, or a challenge that feels desperate, these athletes inspire us to admit that sometimes we need help and support too. That can be a hard thing to do, but we are all ‘differently-abled’, and we need each other.