Paralympics Here We Come!

 

Olympic Park 2009

Last night, after weeks and weeks of trying, I finally succeeded in getting tickets to an event at the Olympic Park: the Athletics on Tuesday.  I’ll admit I’ve never watched the Paralympics before – but then I’ve not really watched much beyond the gymnastics in the Olympics full stop, before it came to London.  However, being in London, in a park designed by my old (and rather amazing) bosses, has turned on a switch I didn’t have before.  Perhaps having children this time also makes a difference; I want their heroes to be ones that inspire, not just because they look good, or have lots of money, but because they have a passion and a zest for success that goes beyond the everyday.  With the paralympians, it goes one step further.  They don’t even take their sporting ability for granted.  They have, in many cases, had to learn to live with what should be a life-limiting disability, but instead have risen up against it and become champions that show those of us sat watching on our sofas up.  These are the real heroes of today’s world.

At a funeral earlier, I was reminded of a bygone era’s heroes in the story told of the man we were saying goodbye to.  As a young man, he was caught by the Germans in France during the second World War but he and some others managed to escape.  Ten of the escapees went one way, he and two others another.  The ten were caught and shot dead.  The three of them were then questioned for desertion but had their story verified and were sent to the beaches of Dunkerque.  As they evacuated, his two fellow escapees were killed by a bomb, yet he returned to England to convalesce.  Later in life, he worked at a US airbase and was late for work on the day an airman ran amok and shot three people dead.  One of them being his colleague in the accounts office.  When he arrived at work, he found a bullet hole through his chair.  Yet again, this man had cheated death.  And with a story like that, he really was meant to live to 94!

The stories of the champions we are watching on our screens and this lovely man who touched my life as a close family friend has reminded me just how precious life is.  How every day should be lived and enjoyed.  And how glad I am that I stuck to my principles and did not accept the recent job offer.  Being at home with my children may seem like an easy life and isn’t respected by many, but you only have the one life and it’s too short to miss out on.  I hope that my children grow up to respect this over money and possessions and live a life that is rich with incredible experiences.  This is the legacy of the man I said goodbye to today and my grandad who was his best friend.  And it is a legacy I want to live on.