Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paralympics: Dreams Are Portals

DREAMS ARE THE PORTALS from which great achievements are made. But although that is how it all begins for athletes, it took dedication and an “umbrella” effort from thousands of supporters for the 17-day whale-of-a-ride Olympics to become reality and lift us up as a nation. Joy rang in the streets and we held our collective breath as events culminated in a hockey cliffhanger and storybook ending for Canada.

Now that we’ve exhaled, the Paralympics are here to carry on the excitement in Whistler from March 12 to 21. Over 1300 champions from 44 countries will participate in the first Paralympic games on Canadian soil. Team Canada will consist of some 55 embodiments of the Olympic spirit.

Seeing people fulfill dreams, overcome challenges and compete with excellence is thrilling and inspiring. We live in uncertain times of heady losses and there is much to overcome. We saw skater Joannie lose her mom and Georgian parents lose their son. An unfathomable number of parents and children were lost in Haiti and now there is devastation in Chile. From losing loved ones to losing the use of a limb, humanity does not allow itself to lose heart for long.

Whether through chance or by fate people throughout the globe have something to conquer. The inspiration we gain from the successes of others helps us weave dreams of our own. Whether to fulfill a goal and excel in a sport, master a physical challenge or simply get out of bed to face a fear, the Paralympians light our way with their can-do attitude, toughness and drive to win.

We crave their inspiration. But as 2010 shows it is a symbiotic relationship. Spectators and athletes need one another to feel the power. The Paralympic flame has now been ignited in Ottawa. It will make its way across country to first appear in Vancouver Island, BC, on Saturday, March 6th, when we will be watching.


  1. This just could not have been said any better! You made so many wonderful points, but the "symbiotic relationship" and the idea of the Paralympians lighting our way especially triggered "aha" moments for me. Many people along my route between home and school have kept their olympic decorations and lights shining in honour of the athletes who will soon compete. I haven't checked out the torch route, but hope I'll be able to meet up with at least one of the bearers. Thanks for a wonderful post. I'll be linking it on my next one so other readers can enjoy your insight.

  2. Thank you, Carol. I appreciate you providing a link. Strangely enough, it is hit and miss being able to visit my blog right now as even I am denied access most of the time this last couple of days. I’ve tried to figure out what is going on but am still not certain.

    Anyway, folks can discover true stories of courage about the Paralympic athletes online as well learn awe-inspiring details about the Torchbearers. In Esquimalt, I believe the first person scheduled to bear the flame is Capt. Trevor Greene, a tough reservist who suffered a severe head injury in a 2006 axe attack during a village meeting in Afghanistan.

    There are still several chances to see the flame in BC communities. The following is from Vanoc:

    Esquimalt/Victoria, British Columbia — March 6, 2010
    Squamish, British Columbia — March 7, 2010
    Whistler, British Columbia — Host Mountain Resort of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games — March 8, 2010
    Lytton, British Columbia — March 9, 2010
    Hope, British Columbia — March 9, 2010
    Vancouver, British Columbia — Celebration to be held near the Vancouver Paralympic Centre, home to wheelchair curling competitions — March 10, 2010
    Maple Ridge, British Columbia — March 10, 2010
    Vancouver (UBC), British Columbia — Celebration to be held near UBC Thunderbird Arena, home to ice sledge hockey competitions — March 11, 2010
    Vancouver (downtown), British Columbia — A 24-hour event will start around Robson Square in downtown Vancouver as the Paralympic Flame is continuously carried and passed between torchbearers — March 11, 2010
    Vancouver (downtown), British Columbia — The 24-hour event continues and concludes around Robson Square, prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games at BC Place — March 12, 2010

  3. Thanks for taking time to give me those details, Penelope. Another person (MyOnlyPhoto) linked at my site has also complained and is switching from Blogger. I have always preferred it to WordPress (just my impression from checking out other blogs), but then, I haven't had problems so far. I had noticed that you posted a link to a newspaper article that i was hoping to come back to, but it has disappeared from your post titles. I wonder if that is also due to Blogger problems.

    This week turned into a crazy one, with heavy rain for most of my time on the bike, and an upcoming trip for my band students taking up every spare minute, and definitely not conducive to photo taking. I didn't get to see the torch, but did bike home last night just before the opening ceremony, and felt something of the energy in the air. I have followed Trevor Greene's story, and last night, watching the opening ceremony, learned about a break dancer who goes by the name of LazyLegz. Just two of many stories that will leave an indelible print on our hearts and minds over the next nine days.


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