Of course there are those who are above and beyond the rest of us. Aaron "wheelz" Fotheringham. A man who has had spina bifida since birth and has spent the majority of his life in a wheel chair but has refused to let that stop him from becoming great. In 2010 he went on tour with the nitro circus crew in Australia (don’t know who they are, look them up). He being the badass that he is decided that he wanted to flip his chair over a 50 foot ramp to dirt jump. First run he over rotated and landed on his back. Not a problem. Got back in his chair and headed back up the ramp. Second run nailed the flip and stuck the landing, the next night of the show he decided that he wanted to do one better, he went for the double back flip. Guess what, he landed it.
Who’s to say you can’t be brave.
JPR Williams, something of a legend in the world of rugby. The welsh full back in 1978. Was stood on while playing against the New Zealand all blacks. The stamp landed on his face slicing open his cheek. He was taken off the field for the injury where the teams doctor, who happened to be his father, stitched up the outside of his cheek while a local dentist stitched up the inside, having lost 2 pints of blood you can imagine him being a little light headed as his father told him to get back in the fight. He did and played what most regard to be the best match of his life only narrowly losing the far superior All Blacks.
above picture: JPR Williams
So I’ll ask you again. Who’s to say you can’t be brave.
Only you can say "I’m not that guy." only you can say “I’ll never be like them." You see bravery isn’t something you are either born with or not, it’s something that can be worked on. In the words of Ed Smith "it can be learned and honed until it becomes second nature. When a sportsman behaves bravely it emboldens him to do the same next time." in other words if you can do one brave thing you can do it again.
Have you ever found yourself looking over the edge of a drop into pool of water and thought this is stupid I cant to this, walked away and regretted it, feeling in your heart that you really could have done it? Have you ever stood up to someone who has it in their minds that you are beneath them? Did it feel good? Of course it did. You were brave when others wouldn’t be. You made the difference and no one else.
A story my father told me came up when I told him I had been bullied at school was a tail of how he himself had been bullied. Bearing in mind that this man went on to be a captain in the British army and served in Northern Ireland during the troubles. He told me now he had been beaten up several times, but told no one, one day his PE teacher noticed his bruises and asked him how he got them. My father told the truth and later that day met his bully in the play ground, just before he received another beating the PE teacher showed up with two pairs of boxing gloves and told them to fight. He stayed to ensure a fair fight. My father was beaten again and again. He feels to one knee again and again but refused to fall, he picked himself up each and every time to keep fighting. In the end he was the one carried off on the shoulders of his peers, because he had done what no one else dared. He had fought and sure he had been thoroughly beaten but he refused to back down. He stood up to his challenge and faced it.
In my mind bravery isn’t a gift for some but for all. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve said to myself, I wish I could do that when I see someone else does something incredible. But I can recount every time I have done something brave. The time I told myself to get up and walk (some of you may know what I’m talking about), the time I ran up the same mountain twice in one hour to call mountain rescue to save a friend who was severely ill and miles from anywhere. The time broke 3 rips playing rugby but stayed quiet because there were no subs. These are a few of my moments that made a difference. What are yours? I’m not saying this to prove that I’m better than you. I’m saying it to prove to you that ordinary people can do extra ordinary things.
I hope the message has gotten through, I hope you want to act in a way that makes a difference. No one else needs to know you made the difference because the feeling of pride you have them you do something brave is totally your own, make your actions count. They don’t have to make a difference to anyone else but they must make a difference to you.