I propose that we start calling the Paralympics the Olympics. Plain and simple. Para means ‘alongside, next to, different.’ In ancient Greek the word para would definitely not refer to the main attraction. Strange. The main attraction of sports should be a person’s dedication. Dedication vs dedication. A level playing field. I mean – you don’t see gymnasts playing hockey now do you? I think, although I’m not talking from personal experience here, that when your body misses a part, and you wish to attain the fastest, greatest or finest sports achievement in the world, then you need to work a lot harder, probably even harder than without missing minor or major details. So perhaps we should replace that Para with Extra. Or Supra.
Why don’t you sign up for the Paralympics?
A Parkinson’s specialist recently asked me this. And I thought:
Yeah, great. And why is that again, dear specialist? Because you assume that I’d feel perfectly at home? You assume that I’m already accustomed to that ‘me’ I most definitely don’t want to be. That I can so easily forget my former favorite me. That I can readily replace my trusty old me, the one that I was so deeply attached to, with a new and far from ideal me? You didn’t bother to check if I’m okay with that. Course not. Because, by now you expect me to have ‘accepted’ (here we go again!) the fact that I’ll have to ‘let go’ of my favorite old me.
And my thoughts got carried away. Just a bit.
Minus 12 glasses? Lovely. Let’s start archery.
Darling specialist, I imagined saying, why don’t we swap your plus-glasses with a pair of minus jam jars, and hey, you just might make it into the Paralympics yourself! And, let’s not beat around the bush here – those old specs of yours are fit for the bin. Sorry to be so blunt. Try taking it on the chin – just deal with it, accept it, cope with it, see things differently – no pun intended. Actually, they suit you rather well, those oversized bottle bottoms. In fact, I’ve almost forgotten what you looked like without them.
Know what? I’ve got an idea of my own. Why don’t we enjoy a spot of archery training together? What prescription were those glasses again? Ah, minus 12? Oh well, don’t worry. We’ll simply move this archery thing 10 metres closer. Right, lovely, that’s it! Soooo much fun, this archery, don’t you think?
I was being unreasonable. A a bit stupid.
I was right enough, but I was being unreasonable. And a bit stupid. Because if I were to participate in the Para or Supra or Extra Olympics … ooh boy … then I’d be forced to leave the comfort of my veranda hammock and start exercising like mad. I’d also have to go to bed on time and I’d certainly have to surrender that secret stash of salted toffees in my bedside table.
But if I were to participate in the Olympics, then I’d also get to wear a LittleOrangeNumber, rather than my trademark black and white StripeyDress.. oh how I’d love to parade in sporty orange stripes! So, dear expert, back to your rather uncharitable words about training for the Paralympics: if only!