"The real disability is negative attitude!" -Rudy Garcia-Tolson
@Belen School Visit 2012
Read more about Rudy:
"Rudy Garcia-Tolson (born 1988) is a Paralympic swimmer, runner and triathlete from the USA. He was born with popliteal pterygium syndrome, resulting in a clubfoot, webbed fingers on both hands, a cleft lip and palate and the inability to straighten his legs. As a 5
year old wheelchair user, after 15 operations, he decided he would rather be a double amputee and walk with prosthetics. He had both legs removed above the knee."
It was a couple years later when he was around 12 years old that I had the pleasure of meeting him here in Miami. He came down with his family to talk to the Belen and Lourdes Cross-Country teams, speak at an event, and compete in the Mac Cycle Trilogy Sprint Triathlon in Key Biscayne.
Whether you have done Tri's before or not, I'm sure you can see what am impressive feat this is for a person to accomplish...let alone a child who was barely a teenager, and a double amputee. He swam the first part of the race and then his father pulled him up on his back and ran him over to the transition area where his dad biked for him and then I remember he put his prosthetic legs on and got ready for the 5k run, which is where my friend Barbie Ruiz and I jumped in. We were freshman in High School at the time, and had so many things to complain about including a laundry list of things that were wrong with us (not to mention the world around us), yet here we were running with a kid about our age, who had every excuse to be upset, to not go out there and compete, and to complain---and he wasn't! We ran alongside him to encourage him and cheer for him without knowing that that experience would later serve as inspiration to not give up in times when the going got tough.
I often think of Rudy's attitude and smile, but one of the many things that he said that will probably stick with me until I lose my mind was his answer to the question: "Why do you run?"
Without hesitating, he turned over and answered: "BECAUSE I CAN!"
I remind myself that at the end of the day: Place in a race, time for a race or a run, or distance covere---NONE of it matters! We should all be out there running and living life to the fullest (to the point of exhaustion even), because WE CAN-in our own individual ways, and how lucky are we!
WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?