Incredibly abled

Bethany Hamilton. Click image for source

Bethany Hamilton. Click image for source

Inspiring story from The Guardian

“It’s funny,” she chuckled, “when I first heard I was going to be nominated for an ESPY the first thing I thought was: ‘Whoa, I’m going to be up for best female action sports athlete!’ It didn’t even occur to me that I was going to be placed in the disabled division … I don’t surf disabled or compete in a disabled category.”

I don’t look at it like, ‘Wow, I did a really good job with one arm.’ It’s just, ‘Wow, I did a good job on that wave’

“I think disabled is a very degrading title for athletes,” she said “I feel like I’m an incredibly abled person … If anything, I encourage ESPYs to … change the category to Best Adaptive Athlete, so athletes that have adapted to unique situations in their life. I would have been stoked to be in the category if that was what it was called.” (emphasis added)

It’s hard to go past her description of the shark attack

On 31 October 2003. Bethany was surfing with her best friend, Alana Blanchard. At first, Hamilton didn’t realize what had happened. She saw a grey flash and felt a short tug. But when she looked down, the water was bright red and her left arm and a large chunk of her surfboard were missing.

“I’ve just been attacked by a shark,” she stated calmly, and started paddling towards the shore with one arm. Alana’s father used his surf leash as a tourniquet and rushed her to the nearest hospital. Local fishermen captured the 14ft tiger shark, surfboard debris still lining its mouth.

Inspirational SIMs aplenty in this story.

-Tim Cocks

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3 Responses to “Incredibly abled”

  1. julietgore0noi

    I love her apparent laconic and rational response to the shark attack- i wonder what part that had in her recovery and subsequent performance?

    Reply
  2. davidbutler0noi

    Thanks Tim,

    Great story, and what a chick! Some readers may not know what SIMs are – and there’s plenty of them in this story. A SIM stands for Safety In Me neurotag – a pattern of activity in the brain which can counteract a Danger In Me (DIM) neurotag. SIM brain activity can make you feel stronger, healthier, more confident and more sure and certain within and about yourself.

    There are many ways in which Bethany’s story can help us all. I was instantly reminded of Jennifer Martin’s ‘Get Chicked’ initiative – empowering female athletes, professionals and life-livers to get out and compete in all aspects of the Game of Life. Check them out – http://www.chicked.com/

    I wonder if Beth realises how her story can be neuroimmunologically healthy for so many people!

    David

    Reply
  3. hayleyleake0noi

    Great find Tim. I really love this idea of celebrating ‘adaptability’. It also comes at a really apt time, days out from the start of the Rio Para Olympics.

    I’ll admit I’m a fan of the Amazing Race – so when I think of Bethany Hamilton I remember her rock climbing, jumping cliffs into the ocean, finishing in first place in 3 of the 10 legs, and finishing 3rd overall. Really highlighting an adaptive, positive and strong mindset!

    Reply

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