I was one of those guys who said I’d never do a triathlon. I grew up in the eighties when triathlon was just getting popular. I loved athletics and played Division I volleyball in college, but when NBC sports televised the annual Kona Ironman race, I told myself, “Amazing. Inspiring. Good for them.”
Watching the surging maelstrom of a couple thousand swimmers clobber each other like salmon fighting upstream was not my idea how I’d like to spend my weekend mornings. Coffee and the morning paper were much more relaxing and safer. I wasn’t going to drown in my coffee.
If you want to take a journey to extraordinary, take a moment to watch this inspiring video about the generosity of one person impacting the life of double-amputee Ironman triathlete, Scott Rigsby. The power of generosity and the amazing stories that flow from it can truly lead you on a journey to extraordinary. How? There is something about generosity that causes a seismic shift in people and the difficult circumstances they face. Generosity inspires hope, courage, and perseverance.
Think of all your mountain-top successes and face-grinding failures. Your valiant victories and deadening defeats. Your golden trophies and locker-room second-guessing. All those wonderful wins and heart-breaking losses.
Before you take too much credit and get swollen with pride or stand on your toes, pointing your finger, blaming everyone in sight, just remember this: For every swig from your victor’s cup, someone, somewhere helped you cross your finish line.
I am honored to count Scott Johnson as a friend. He’s the one with arms raised, celebrating Army Ranger, double-amputee Cedric King’s finish of this year’s 2014 Boston Marathon. After Cedric lost both his legs in an IED explosion in Afganistan, he could have called it quits. For good. But even with prosthetic limbs, he didn’t stop walking or running. Yes, that’s Cedric King kissing the finish line after thousands of Boston Strong spectators cheered him the final 500 yards. A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?
Note: Flying over to the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship last October, I wrote this post about my recent experience with Scott Rigsby and his unthinkable venture into high surf on Memorial Day. Whatever “high surf” you currently find yourself in, I hope you’re encouraged to persevere through whatever stormy seas you’re in. If you think you can’t persevere, with God’s strength, think again…In the video below, watch Scott exit the water after his two and a half mile swim at the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship. Read the story. Watch the video. Not every race counts!
What would you do if you lost both your legs? If I was an amputee, I don’t think becoming a triathlete would be at the top of my list. (Let alone competing in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.) Losing my legs would be unthinkable and competing in triathlons would require unthinkable courage. And strength. And perseverance. And an extremely high tolerance for pain.