Give the Paralympics a peek

What does Rich de Give have to say? Read on:

  • The first sign it’s going to be a weird week? When Twitter suggests you follow not only the Angels (of Anaheim, that is), but Pope Francis.
  • With considerably less fanfare and, it appears, less funding than expected, the Paralympics begin this week in Rio de Janiero.

Which is too bad. The lack of fanfare beyond local fame for so many, that is. The funding? Brazil’s hairdresser doesn’t know for sure where that’s coming from.

But about the athletes … this is where you find those truly inspiring stories of athletes overcoming obstacles to compete on the highest levels, not those made-for-NBC tales of woe that, until recently, dominated the coverage of the Olympic Games.

A recent assignment covering a triathlon in Santa Cruz found me in the midst of some of these amazing athletes and found them not only very approachable, but genuinely excited about their sport.

Perhaps the best illustration of this came when your humble scribe, who was sitting on the ground while they were searching for information on a handheld device, grabbed a wheel on an athlete’s wheelchair to support himself as he got up, then immediately apologized … only to hear him say “it’s all right.”

So, if you’re looking for a break from the hype over the start of the NFL, or tennis, pennant races or college football isn’t your thing, check your local listings or fire up the browser for something inspiring.’

  • That’s what I find most amazing about handicapped athletes, if I may use that term, how they accept what some may call limitations.

I recall interviewing Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky, who lost his throwing arm to cancer, and mentioning in passing that I still couldn’t watch video of his last fateful pitch in Montreal (included in this link ).

He told me, yes, he could watch it.

After more than 30 years in the media, I like to think I’ve grown above having heroes. Yet, one can’t help but admire that kind of spirit.


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