Hello again everyone. This week I had the privilege to listen to a truly inspirational speech from Kurt Fearnley, Australia’s leading wheelchair athlete where he talked about his “24/7” focus to become Commonwealth champion in his events next month in Delhi and that currently his every waking moment is consumed by this desire. Kurt’s presentation overviewed his childhood as disabled person in a small country town in NSW, the realisation of wanting to become a full time professional athlete after seeing Keiren Perkins win gold in the 1500m in Atlanta. He described his transition from being an awestruck young 18 year old at the Sydney 2000 Olympics to Olympic champion in Athens and then again at Beijing. But overpowering all this athletic success was his vivid description with an accompanying emotional video presentation of his two weeks crawling the Kokoda Trail in November last year.
Kurt freely admitting that it was far and away the hardest thing he had ever done and, feeling for the first time in his life, that he may have to give up on something and only two days into the trek. Collapsing each day into his tent after 8 hours of crawling, cold, covered in mud and scratches all over his body and then doing it all over again the next day; he rightly described his body as an “idiot” for listening to his thoughts each day to continue on. Truly a champion in spirit and body and a living example of how the human spirit can overcome the challenges of a body that is not co-operative! Before I close I would like to send my thoughts and best wishes to a member of my 1979 cohort of ex students.
To Stuart Armsworth, who suffered a stroke some ten weeks ago, to his wife Deb and family keep plugging away mate! Like Kurt Fernley crawling through the Kokoda mud, the weekly news updates I receive through the grapevine of your rehabilitation progress are just as inspiring.
“If we do meet again, why, we shall smile; If not, why then, this parting was well made” (Julius Caesar, Act V)
Till next time.
Paul Harris (1979)
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