This post was inspired by a young man that I met the other day while at a school in our district. His name is JC and he is blind. He is 19 years old, was not born blind, instead he lost his vision in his early teens to a degenerative retina problem. Meeting JC made me think of Jimmy V and the high school female track athlete below.
Jim Valvano (Jimmy V) was a good basketball coach, and he was a great man. The title of this post is his last speech on ESPN, and if you don’t know him you should read about him. Jimmy V died from cancer in 1993, but to this day touches many people with the V Foundation and his “Don’t Give Up” speech.
I also remember an SI story that I read when I was in my 20’s back before SI had an internet presence and was just a magazine that I subscribed to. This young female track athlete was the anchor for her teams state 4 x 400 relay. The team had a big lead when she got the baton for the last lap. As she was rounding the last turn with a 1/2 lap lead her left leg gave way and fractured. She fell down in agony, but she didn’t give up. She tried to get up but fell back down, she started to crawl around the track to the finish line with the other runners catching up and then passing her. The father and coach of this young lady ran out to help her. She refused their help because as she put it in a later interview, her team would have been disqualified and she didn’t want to give up. She needed to finish, no matter the damage to her leg. She needed to finish for her teammates and herself. Everyone watched as she crawled that last 100 yards, they cried, but she finished. She didn’t give up.
Now to why JC made me think of these two other people. Well, JC didn’t give up. He was a young man, not yet a tenth into his life and he was dealt the hand that he would not see again. He kept on going, kept his great spirit and graduated from high school and is working on getting into broadcasting. What is he doing at a school in our district right now? He is doing the morning announcements for a special needs school. JC uses the phone intercom and a tape recorder to accomplish this and I was inspired by watching him do it in such a professional manner. He tapes the special announcements and the lunch menu ahead of time to replay while he does a live intro, pledge of allegiance and exit to the daily announcements.
Watching JC made me think about what I have, what I need to do as a father, husband and man to succeed and be the best I can be. JC is an extraordinary young man that I hope inspires you to not give up, to examine your life and do your best.
Thanks JC for being an inspiration to other students and to me. I appreciate being able to meet you.