Last night I was watching the Paralympics in Tokyo and a commercial flashed on the screen that led with Start Your Impossible! The perfect television commercial (Toyota) to run within the Paralympics. Once I saw that line and commercial, I knew exactly how to begin this blog!
I’d wanted to write about the overwhelming admiration I’d been feeling for wheelchair athletes and now, with the Paralympics in Japan being covered on NBCSN and a few other venues, it was perfect timing. I’ve been watching one competition after another as each of these amazing young athletes, gave one hundred and fifty percent on the track, in the lake, on the court, in the pool or on the floor representing the United States of America. They were proud and dignified as they achieved their wins and accepted their medals. Frankly, it’s been refreshing and presents a wonderful balance to the horrors I’ve also been watching with the Afghanistan debacle and ongoing American political scene. I simply needed some balance in my life and these games have delivered.
There was one other reason why I’d been drawn to this year’s coverage, especially the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball games; that’s because my great-niece was playing for Team USA. In the last couple years, I ‘ve been able to connect with this extraordinary young woman, who I knew existed but never had the opportunity to meet. Now, she’s residing in Tucson, Arizona and has recently been named head coach of the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team at the University of Arizona.
Josie Aslakson is twenty-four years old and as the result of a tragic automobile accident, she has been in a wheelchair since she was five. Josie is an inspiration to every person she meets. She exudes love and joy, her smile is infectious, and she seems to lift everyone around her. She’s accomplished and very, very independent. She now owns her own home and drives her own SUV. Just how quickly she maneuvers to get in and out of that vehicle is something to behold.