“Age means nothing, attitude is everything. I live by that every day and I think that came through today.”
– Colette Bourgonjie, Canadian, 2010 Vancouver Paralympic silver medalist in 10km cross country ski race
I’ve been loosely following the Paralympics currently taking place in Vancouver, BC. I admit that my enthusiasm towards these games is not as focused as the Olympics two weeks ago and for that, I feel ashamed.
I would argue that these athletes have even more of a challenge facing them than our previous ones. Overcoming a disability to compete internationally in grueling courses, games and competitions must be applauded -and in the very least – paid attention to.
As mentioned in the quotation, attitude really is everything. Attitude changes a viewpoint. It changes your demeanor. It changes how you deal with a tough situation.
After reading the story about Bourgonjie winning Canada’s first Paralympic medal, I was reminded that it’s not all about winning. She came in second place, but her attitude towards the opportunity she was given showed gratefulness and humility. She said this:
“I’m shocked and I can’t believe it. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I am still racing because I wanted to compete at a Paralympics in Canada and I’m just so proud to have done this in front of Canadians. I share this medal with all of Canada.”
It’s people like Bourgonjie that make me believe in the goodness still residing in the hearts of men and women, even if it hides deep within us.
Wars come and go. Violence continues to persist. Despair, sadness, cruelty plague our world, but it can all change. It can change with you and me. We need to break our negative attitude into a thousand pieces and build it up in love, peace, grace and humility.
Only then, will our attitude make a difference.