Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for October, 2013

OCTOBER 29, 1993

Coach Tim Welsh and I right after the 50 free.

Coach Tim Welsh and I right after the 50 free.

The best hug from my dad, just after the race.

The best hug from my dad, just after the race.

A card Mrs. Hipp made to always remember (and always keep - I still have it)

A card Mrs. Hipp made to always remember (and always keep – I still have it)

Twenty years ago today I competed again for the first time after the swim team bus accident.

22 months, 5 surgeries, 3 months in the hospital, countless hours of therapy leading up to this day. 2 events: the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly.

I just reread What Though the Odds chapter 21. It’s crazy to know that was 20 years ago today. What a journey it was and what a journey it has been.

October 29, 1993, certainly produced the great “Hollywood ending” for my story. And we’re working on that. It also produced some of my all-time favorite pictures.

 

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  • BON SECOURS

    Over the past two days, I presented to two different groups at Bon Secours Health System in Virginia. As with every talk, you never know how many are going to show up (we had great showings at both events). But as with every talk, I know it doesn’t matter how many people are there; someone in attendance will need to hear my message.

    This was true at Bon Secours. But it’s also tricky to write about. One of the most meaningful parts of my “job” is meeting with and talking to folks after my events. This is when I hear the way in which I have connected with someone. This is when I hear their stories after they have heard mine. And we all have a story to share.

    It’s tricky because these are heartfelt and personal stories or questions; the kind you do not want to ask or share during Q&A, and the kind where I shouldn’t use names on an open blog. For example, the woman who is suffering from nerve damage (only one year post-injury) and wanted to know if I experienced the same effects (yes, I did and I still do); or the 13-year-old who stayed home from school that day because she was being bullied by classmates.

    These are the stories I hear at every event; the details are different – but their lives are equally effected in very real ways.

    Last night after my event, my host asked if I was exhausted. No, not then. It is a great privilege to hear others’ stories; it is the difference between reading my book and hearing me speak. When I speak, I get to listen as well. And that too is a great gift.

     

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  • TRUE HEROES

    I have been delinquent about blogging. My apologies! I need to get back to my once-a-week commitment. And since I have a back-log of topics about which to write, it’s just a matter of taking the time – or making the time.
    Today’s topic deserves all my time, attention and respect; although I am not sure my words will be adequate.

    Last month, I had the privilege of meeting true American heroes. I was in South Bend for our Monogram Club board meeting, the Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame game, and an amazing event: a softball game.

    The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST) vs. Notre Dame in a double-header. In the first game, the WWAST played the Notre Dame softball team (WWAST won); the second game was against a team of “Notre Dame coaches, Monogram winners and celebrities.” I played as a Monogram winner.

    When my oldest son saw the score of the WWAST’s game against the ND softball team, he said to me, “Oh mom, you are going to lose big time!”
    Yes, we were – and we did. But not really.

    These young men on the WWAST were amazing. Are amazing. They have made an enormous sacrifice for our country, and yet each of them played softball with as much joy for life as I have ever seen. The double leg amputee who did a cartwheel as he crossed home plate; the one-armed fielder, who caught and threw the ball with his same/only arm, tossing the ball in the air to drop his glove on the ground, only to catch the ball with his bare hand and throw it; the amputee who – for entertainment – pretended his “foot” was hurt when hit by a pitch. I can not adequately describe for you how amazing they are physically, mentally and emotionally.

    It was an inspiring afternoon for me, and inspiring for my children to watch the game as well. These are the lessons I can not tell my kids about; I have to show them and let them experience the inspiration for themselves. Lucky us. Even though we lost big time.

     

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