In a day and age of some cynical controversies, find some much-needed inspiration in the Paralympics, starting in Tokyo.
These competitions bring out the high-quality drama of intense sport with the occasional time that provokes genuine admiration for you athletes. The Paralympics are a worldwide sports event following the Olympics, allowing those with significant physical disabilities to compete on a world stage with similarly challenged others.
My nephew, Zach Shattuck, is a competitor this year in six swimming events, starting tonight. He has a condition known as hypochondroplasia dwarfism. His stature has never held him back from playing sports of all kinds.
Zach was outstanding on sports teams and in sandlot games. In High School, he started on his varsity soccer team. As a senior, he and his teammates competed in the State Playoffs.
He is a hard-charging determined competitor, gifted with excellent coordination.
Zach competed in college for the Frostburg swim team. He followed his college coach to be an assistant swim coach at Mary Washington College. His college coach has become a Paralympic Swim coach, thanks to his work with Zack, and both he and a team member from Mary Washington who Zach helped coach are now on the men’s Paralympic team.
Zach has always been a hard-charging determined competitor. Zach has spent much of the last year in Colorado Springs at the Olympic training center. He was disappointed last summer by the postponing of the games.
Zach’s story is like that of so many athletes: They are gritty, determined men and women using their talents at the highest level, overcoming many challenging moments.
We all face challenges as we walk through our life journeys. I draw solace and joy by spending time admiring the sacrifice and grit on display daily in these games for the next few weeks.
The event schedule is shown here.
Enjoy the uplifting competitions.