Posts tagged courage

Ian Thorpe: The Swimmer

Ian Thorpe has always intrigued us.  A giant of a man not just in stature but in how much he has achieved starting at the tender age of fourteen.  As an athlete and role model, he has not put a foot wrong and in today’s world with all its vices and temptations to young athletes, that is no mean feat.  He is a rare breed.

I was really looking forward to learning more about the man as I sat down to watch Ian Thorpe: The Swimmer last night on  the ABC, directed by filmmakers Gregor Jordon and Simone Kessel.  I knew nothing about Ian Thorpe until I arrived in Australia in September 2000 but during that Olympic week, his name was everywhere.  Of course the rest is history with Ian taking home a swag of gold medals and setting numerous world records.

The Swimmer looks at Ian’s attempt to qualify for London 2012 over a two year period.  His renewed desire to compete brought him out of retirement, five years after hanging up his swim cap.

Ian Thorpe has always been a private person and growing up in the full glare of the media has made him guarded.  Interestingly it was Ian’s idea to document his attempted Olympic comeback and I wondered how he had come to that decision, given his discomfort in the media spotlight.  Was it because he never expected to fail?

One thing Ian Thorpe has never lacked is courage.  It takes courage to publicly voice your intent and your hopes.  It takes even more courage to try and then to fall short in front of an expectant nation.  It takes courage to hold it together when a microphone is shoved in front of your face the moment you step out of the pool.  I admire Ian Thorpe for his courage and as an example to kids the world over, that it’s better to try and sometimes fail, than to never try at all.   Peoples lives are full of regret for all the things they wish they’d had the courage to do.   The reality is that we learn more about ourselves from our failures than we do from our successes and there is no shame in not winning, or in coming second or third or fourth.  Perhaps the experience of failure is something that Ian has rarely had to face.  After all elite athletes are indoctrinated to only focus on winning.

He seemed uncomfortable at different points in the documentary when he was being questioned by the Director.  We really learned very little else about him not related to his sport.  I’d like to have seen him relaxing and laughing with friends and family but there was none of that in the film, or only one scene.  Ian’s own admission that he can go for months without speaking to people did not really surprise me.

What he needs more than anything else in this world is a soulmate.  It would completely change his world.  There is someone out there for all of us.

Ian Thorpe is an accomplished athlete, a gentleman and an Australian of whom we can all be proud.  He has achieved more in his young life than many of us could hope to in our lifetimes.  Best of all, he still has so much more to offer and I look forward to his future successes whether in or out of the pool.


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Afghanistan: Girl Power – People & Power – Al Jazeera English


I hope that one day we see the liberation of women in countries like Afghanistan.  It takes an enormous amount of courage for women to take any kind of stand in an environment that is so hostile to the liberation of women or even the existence of them.

Those who do stand up are often punished for their bravery.

What it will really take to make a difference, is for the men of Afghanistan to stand beside their wives, mothers, sisters and help drive the change towards equality.  Or at the very least an increase in tolerance and respect for women.

We have a long way to go.

Afghanistan: Girl Power – People & Power – Al Jazeera English.

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say hello to my hairy little friend

This little beauty has been hovering above me whilst I type for 5 days now.  I’m nervous.  My only consolation is that it’s not above my bed but in the study, where I can keep a close eye on it.

are you looking at me?

When I stretched up to get a picture of it, it reared up on its hind legs (its back ones, front ones, side ones) and stared me down with its black beady little eyes.  Its weird how some animals look like they’re wearing sunnies.  And mostly they’re Australian animals which is quite an odd quirk.  Think prawns.  I can’t eat prawns unless they come peeled and cooked.  I am not the kind of person who can pull the legs off an animal, dead or alive and I’m certainly not going to start with our friend on the wall or the crustation community.

But back to the spider.    Steve Irwin would know what to do with our hairy friend.  In fact he would have it crawling all over his arms, legs and face.  Steve was just that kind of guy. Zero fear with a fun factor that was off the scale.

I miss you Steve Irwin.  Your energy and enthusiasm was boundless and nobody can ever replace you.

you bloody beauty

Much as I adore my gorgeous husband.  As sure as night follows day, I know he would botch the whole spider capturing saga.  I’ve seen the routine a few times.  Him standing on a chair, desperately failing about with a broom in an attempt to bring down the little sucker.  Or chasing after it with a large recepticle in which to place it.

Invariably it gets away from us.

I’m usually standing from a safe distance, yelling out its escape plan.  Or is that my escape plan?  Then we lose it and neither of us knows where the heck it went.  We’re looking here, looking there.  Now everything is ten times worse because it’s free to roam around, traumatized and angry.  Planning its revenge.

I can just about cope with large spiders as long as they are not too close.

Like the time I was driving and pulled down the visor to get the sun out of my eyes.  There it was in all its hairy, bulbous, long-legged glory.  Six inches from my face.

The hysteria as I tried to drive without having to touch the steering wheel, indicate or use my gears.  Much like my 79 year old dad, God love him.  I was all over the road.

I don’t know where my scream emanated from but I couldn’t stop.  Wearing shorts and a singlet, I had visions of it dropping into my lap, or some crevice from which I could not possibly hope to retrieve it.  Certainly not whilst driving and screaming like a banshee.  My hubby, strapped helplessly into the passenger seat, had to take over the steering.

Eventually after what seemed like an eternity but was probably five seconds, he managed to turn the car into a side road and I bolted for safety.    Some lovely mechanics from across the road came to our rescue probably thinking I was trying to escape from a madman.  My husband escaped with his life and permanently damaged eardrums.  Thank heaven for men in general, or at least the ones who don’t mind spiders.

I try not to kill spiders because I’m worried I might come back as one.

But lets not get me started on cockroaches.

That’s about the only use I have for the Yellow Pages these days.

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winger or warrior?

We get the world we deserve when we do nothing and say nothing.

Apathy can be like a cancer in a community or a workplace.  I’ts the beginning of the end when nobody can be bothered.

A few years back there was a commotion one Saturday night and screaming and fighting could be heard from one of the apartments in the block.  That night a woman was murdered by her partner.

The next day when police were door-knocking local residences as part of their investigation, it emerged that nineteen households had heard the violence taking place.  Nobody called the police.   Everybody thought that somebody else would do it.  A couple of the neighbours told others they would call police but they didn’t.  The apathy that occurred that night resulted in the brutal death of one of their neighbours.

Life could have been been saved, but wasn’t.  The case ended up being used as part of an advertising campaign to encourage people to call police and not to assume that somebody else would do it.

We get the world we deserve when we can’t be bothered to fight for a better one.

The above case is an extreme example of the consequences of apathy but I’m sure it’s very common.

See something on television that offends you – let them know.  Hear a radio ‘shock jock’ sounding off in an offensive manner – get involved.  Activism can make a huge difference, even if we don’t think of ourselves as activists.

These people are right up there for being prepared to take a stand and for making a difference.  To them and others like them, I say thank you.

And whilst we’re on the subject of courageous women, here’s another one

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