Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When vs. If

We, North Bay Aquatics, had our annual end of season BBQ and team party last week. It is always a grand time having swimmers of all ages and their parents come together to celebrate our team. And we always celebrate the team aspect of what we do.
We do not have trophies for outstanding or most improved swimmers in the various age groups. What we do have is a unique patch (similar to a merit badge but larger) each year that swimmers can sow onto their backpacks or peg to their bulletin board at home. It has the team logo and a funny/fun, usually semi-reverent quote on the border.
We also had a “guest” appearance by our own Theo St. Francis.
Theo headed off to M.I.T. last August full of promise and enthusiasm. While there during a pre-school function with one of his classes he was injured, severely. He was paralyzed from the chest down. He became, in his words, “much more familiar with the human body and its functionality than I ever imagined.” He is currently home here in California rebuilding his body’s ability. He is able to do this because his spinal cord was heavily traumatized but thankfully not ruptured or broken.
Additionally he is a super motivated guy who sees progress nearly every week. He is determined to stand on his own again. Last week in his SCI-FIT therapy work (spinal cord injury’s version of Cross Fit) in Pleasanton, CA his trainer asked him this question.
“Theo, what are you going to do with your wheelchair when you no longer need it?”
Theo told us in the time it took him to ponder his answer he realized that while he had always thought about standing and walking on his own it really had been a matter of “if” and not “when”. Now that he was thinking about the chair and what to do with it “when” that very special day arrives he realized this would be the defining moment. “When” not “If” is huge.
This year’s event will go down in history as the year we learned the most significant lesson in the difference between “If” I make my cut vs. “When” I make my cut.
Each swimmer has goals. They have a really good shot at success if they commit to what happens “when” not “if” they make those goals a reality.
For a more complete idea of who Theo is go to www.swimswam.com and search for Team Theo. All who know him are honored to be on his Team.

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