This morning I woke up obscenely early. Bleary eyed, I made myself an extra large mug of coffee, turned on my computer, and patiently waited. At 5:35 AM I witnessed something amazing.
I cannot find the words to convey the emotions that I felt when I saw Oscar walk on the track with his prosthetic Cheetah legs. Dressed in the colors of South Africa, he has come to represent every amputee who refuses to be defined by their loss. This morning, a man with no legs proved to the world that he is not disabled!
I had no expectations of a fairy tale ending. I wouldn't even flirt with the notion of Oscar moving beyond the qualifying round. Apparently wishes that aren't dared spoken sometimes do come true. Oscar finished second in his heat, promoting him to the semi-final rounds.
Forums and blogs immediately began buzzing after the race. Naysayers are claiming that Oscar cheated because his man-made legs provide him with an unnatural advantage. I choose to ignore those inaccurate assertions and concentrate on those posts that demonstrate the true significance of what happened this morning.
A Mom, sitting in a hospital room next to her 9 year old daughter, posted this after watching the race:
"The nurse came running into the room with a computer and woke up Lily to watch Oscar. She didn't say a word but just watched the screen. When he finished, she looked at me and smiled. The first time I have seen that pretty smile since the accident! She said that the man had fake legs and ran really good. She didn't know that she could do things like that. Now she can't wait to get her leg and start running!!!!"
Seeing Oscar pass his competitors is something I will always remember. Oscar's competitors better watch out in the next heat-- they are about to be chased down by a Cheetah!