02 September 2013

Diana Nyad... Swimming with Sharks....

Diana Nyad made history today: she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage or flippers. 

This was a trip of 103 miles that took 35 years to make. 

The 64-year old swimmer first attempted the journey in 1978, yet her past four tries have all come since she turned 60. 

There’s so much to adore about this story, but what I really love is that  Nyad just kept trying, no matter what the odds. People told her she was too old. People told her she couldn’t make it. And let’s remember that there were sharks! 

As if the idea of the swim weren’t daunting enough, during previous attempts she had suffered from asthma attacks and jellyfish stings (including on her tongue... ). According to CNN, this time she wore a mask that prevented jellyfish from stinging her tongue. 

After she finished, Nyad had three things she to say:  

“One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team.”

They sure don't sound like platitudes from someone who has just accomplished such a feat as she, do they? There’s so much inspiration to be drawn from here, but it really comes down to one word: Perseverance. What a great reminder that there is very little we can’t accomplish, very few goals that we can’t reach, if we just keep trying. I know that in my life, I’ve given up when something has just seemed too hard or the odds to great. In fact, there’s one particular aim I want to achieve by the end of the year (no, it’s not managing to keep blogging every day) and it’s a lot easier than swimming 103 miles and there’s no reason I can’t do it. I bet you have something too and I know you can do it. 

So here’s to setting goals, realizing they take hard work, and not letting anything, even sharks, deter you. 

Today’s $10 goes to Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people with physical disabilities pursue athletic lifestyles. CAF runs an impressive slate of programs that cover everything from giving grants to help buy equipment like sports wheelchairs, sports prosthetics, etc., to running a program to support injured veterans with athletic aspirations and children’s programs. 

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