What would any of us be willing to give if we knew it would inspire others to rise above adversity or put past mistakes behind them and strive to be the best they could be?
Like all teenage horse loving riders, my daughter dreamed of making it to the National, a premier Canadian equestrian event. Life went in a very different direction for her but she never lost her interest in the sport and was delighted to be able to attend the National at Spring Meadows, in Calgary, last weekend.
It was an unexpected and special treat to get to meet Eric Lamaze, a rider who's accomplishments and personal story have been an inspiration to her and her family. ~
Eric had risen above a childhood in a troubled home and worked his way up in a sport that is usually only accessible to those privileged enough be able to afford participating. It's not for nothing that horses are considered the 'sport of kings'. He made his way to the Canadian National Equestrian Team and was making a name for himself as a great competitor. But, he made mistakes. Serious mistakes and it seemed his career was over. A great many people must have believed in Eric, though, and he was given a second and even a third chance to redeem himself. He did that by going on to win Canada's first Olympic gold medal in equestrian. He is somewhat of a poster boy for never giving up, never giving in and everyone deserving a chance to try again.
My daughter was so happy she had the opportunity to tell him that he has been an inspiration to her children, several of whom have come from similarly difficult backgrounds or have physical disabilities. She told him that his personal and athletic achievements have meant a great deal to their whole family.
He turned to leave, after they had chatted and had the photo taken, and turned back to say he had something he wanted to give her. How wonderful to have a key chain or some kind of souvenir from Eric Lamaze on the day he had won another gold medal!
The quiet spoken, press shy man handed her the gold medal he had just won! ~
He would give up his gold to inspire some kids to become everything they dreamed of being! He would give it up as a daily reminder that your circumstances are not what determines who you become in life.
Back home at the farm, the medal was proudly worn by a rescued horse aptly named Never Lose Hope. Just because she's not pretty, it doesn't mean Hope doesn't have the heart of a winner! ~
My daughter found that dreams do come true. Not always when or in the way we expect, but they do come true. You can devote your life to rescuing abused and abandoned animals. You can spend your days caring for children that might not have had a chance in the world without you. You can put aside your own wishes in the service of others and still come home from the National with the gold medal!
Thank you Eric Lamaze for your selfless act of kindness! Thank you for showing us all that where we are today is not where we must stay, as long as we have the courage to point our faces in the right direction and take that first jump!