Saturday, November 12, 2011 / by Nathan Clark
There was film of a college football player in a wheelchair, leading his teammates onto the field for a game. The way the players and crowd seemed to receive this act led me to do a Google search to find out more about this young man’s story.
The player’s name is Eric LeGrand, I found out. He played for Rutgers University last year but suffered a spinal cord injury while tackling somebody and was paralyzed from the neck down. A little more digging online, and I found his Twitter account. This young man, whose life was dealt a severe blow, is one of the most positive people I have read.
He mentions his rehabilitation, and has posted pictures of himself standing. He reported that he now has movement in his shoulders and some in his arms, and he promises that he will one day walk again.
In fact, after he led his team out onto a snowy field last weekend, he tweeted that he left tire tracks in the snow but that the next time he’s out there leading the team onto that field, he will leave footprints.
I don’t know if I’d be so willing to get back onto the field where something so devastating happened. You might think that losing mobility because of football would sour you on the sport. But here is this young man, doing radio broadcast work for the team and leading them onto the field. This past weekend, he had an ax in his wheelchair as a testament to his coach’s motto, which is “keep chopping.”
This kid keeps chopping, that’s for sure.
And although I had never heard about this young man before, I was inspired by seeing him out on that field. In fact, I was inspired enough to look up his story on the internet, and inspired enough to share it with you here. It got me to thinking, “why is this so inspiring to me?”
I’m not entirely sure. I do, however, think that I am often inspired by things like this. I am inspired by success stories, inspired by stories of people overcoming odds. I am inspired by people who accomplish remarkable things, and I am inspired by people who make remarkable effort. I realize, though, that what inspires me might not inspire others. Why is that?
It seems that to be inspired, you have to be kind of open inspiration. There’s probably not a clearer way to say that. Negative people, for example, or people who think they have all the answers, seem to be less inspired by other people. It just seems like some people are just not as open to inspiration, and as a result go through life uninspired.
It could be that inspiration is a two-way street. There are people out there whose actions, attitudes and accomplishments are inspirational, but maybe only to the people who are open to inspiration. It’s sometimes a surprise what inspires you from day to day – for example, this young football player with such a positive attitude – but it seems that a willingness to be inspired is just as important as coming across inspiration. If you don’t have that two-way street, that openness toward inspiration, chances are you won’t be inspired.
And going through life uninspired is no way to go through life. Until you are inspired by the success of others, the perspective of others, the attitudes and insight of others, you’re not experiencing all that life has to offer. And if you’re going through life uninspired, chances are you aren’t really inspiring anybody else, either.
Not only that, it takes inspiration to have success. Talent, hard work and perseverance are important, yes, but those things alone don’t guarantee success. There are plenty of hard-working, talented people out there who never experience their full potential. They might be lacking passion. They might be lacking motivation. It takes inspiration sometimes to spark those things.
And it takes being open to inspiration to receive it.