Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Hannah McFadden and Colbie Bratli from Baltimore, Maryland.

I will never complain again in my life.

Yesterday I went to Rutgers University to support some athletes. Some amazing athletes. The sports I watched were table tennis and swimming. As I walked up to the table tennis area, I saw a girl walking with a prosthetic leg. And then as I entered the area, I saw the other athletes, most of whom were in wheelchairs.

It was the 2008 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Junior World Games and the National Junior Disability Championships.

Many of the athletes have spinal injuries, cerebral palsy, visual impairments, amputations, limb deficiencies, or other congenital anomalies. They came from 20 countries, including Kuwait, Brazil, Iran, and New Zealand.

I spoke with the head official, Debbie Armento and she informed me that the athletes were competing in track & field, archery, table tennis, 3-on-3 basketball, power lifting and swimming. And many of the athletes were competing in multiple events!

I spoke with two lovely young athletes, Hannah McFadden (12) and Colbie Bratli (14) from Baltimore, MD after one of their table tennis doubles matches. I couldn’t get over how much fun they were having and cheering on other athletes at the same time. I found out that Hannah and Colbie are not only competing in table tennis but archery, swimming and field! They agreed that the games were exciting, yet they were a bit nervous. This great event allows athletes to reunite with other athletes that they haven’t seen in a while as well as making new ones.

I asked Hannah and Colbie what it took to become a successful athlete and here’s what they had to say:

1. Practice
2. Have fun
3. Concentration

It was amazing what great attitudes all the athletes had and how they are no different than anyone else.

After table tennis, I watched a bit of the swimming.

When I sat down I saw a boy from Mexico was warming up in the pool. He had one and a half arms and half a leg. I was amazed at how well he was swimming. And then he swam up to the side of the pool and did a flip turn! Unbelievable. I will never forget seeing an athlete go up to the side of the pool, get set, and jump in the water and swim – with no legs! I am certain that most of the swimmers could out swim me.

When I watch amazing athletes like that I am obviously inspired and impressed, but it also makes me ask myself the question, “If they can do THIS with a disability, what am I capable of?”

I can still see and hear all the athletes having fun, giving their all and cheering each other on…

We can all learn from them.

Thank you Hannah and Colbie.

Thanks for reading.

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