Monday, September 10, 2007

Hiatus Ended

I spent the weekend in Brisbane, flown up, accommodation paid for and car hired by Basketball Queensland because they invited me to speak at their Annual Conference. Firstly I should say that it amazes me that people think what I have to say is interesting. But, when I think that, I have to remind myself that my State body named Knox as the Association of the Year for 2006, the national body named us the "Large" Association of the Year for 2007, and, on a personal note, I have been named administrator of the year by the state body for both 2005 and 2006. So I guess I must be doing something right.

Still, readers of my other blog will know that one of the manifestations of the so-called midlife crisis is a major problem with self esteem. I am learning to deal with that.

For a society that is as homogenous as Australia is, in the big cities at least, I am constantly intrigued by the physical differences in people in both Sydney and Brisbane compared to Melbourne. I really think there are emerging cultural differences between the cities, or maybe they have always been there. Perhaps it has something to do with the types of sports we favour, or maybe the weather or even the geography. Or perhaps it is simply the unfamiliarity of a strange city that heightens the feelings of difference.

One thing I did learn was that the sport of basketball has the same issues up there as we do here - referees, coaches and lack of venues are the three overriding problems the sport faces.

I also caught up with a young bloke who used to work for me but who moved up there a few years ago with his girlfriend, only to break up with her a month later. Almost a year ago he went swimming with some mates in Surfers Paradise, and on diving into the water, shattered a vertebrae on a sand bank. He was extremely lucky not to have drowned but is classified as a partial quadraplegic being paralysed from his chest down. It was a shock to see him in this state for the first time. Whilst I have spoken to him on the phone, chatted on Yahoo and exchanged emails over the past year, to see a bloke who was full of life and a good athlete, now confined to a wheelchair was hard.

I have to say his attitude is fantastic, he joked about having shrunk 50 centimeters, and is remarkably realistic about his situation and his future. He is an only child and his mother lives in Melbourne, but he has no intention of returning to live down here, and that I think is testament to the support network of friends he has up there. I will put the word out in the basketball community in Queensland that he is looking for work, even in a part time capacity. One problem he has at the moment is that he is having bad muscle spasms which limit his mobility further but that may settle down over the next twelve months and there are some surgical options which may work for him down the track a bit.

Sometimes we can sit around and mope and feel sorry for ourselves when minor irritations occur. It is inspirational to see some people overcome enormous adversity and take so much pain and frustration in their stride.


Ms. Q said...

That is an inspirational story. We can all live amazing lives if we want to. We just don't think we can.

I love your header image and thanks for stopping by my blog - it gave me a reason to stop by!

Gypsy said...

What a brave and inspirational young man. We never really know what we are capable of(or NOT) until we are challenged and he sounds like he has an amazing attitude. Most battles are fought in the mind so it is imperative to have focus and determination and a positive drive.

Congratulation Loz on your own personal achievement and that of your association. You should be very proud of yourself. I am proud of you.

Loz said...

Ms Q - and likewise to you. The header photo is one I took of Lake Bonney in South Australia one magical Easter afternoon. You can see more of that same night here -

Loz said...

Gypsy - its funny how those who do inspire often don't realise they do. Maybe we should tell them more often how their struggles can also positively affect the rest of us.

And thank you for the congratulations :)

Nick Phillips said...

That was an absolutely inspirational story. And there I was just a few minutes ago posting about me feeling old and achy! Makes me feel so small compared to this.

Loz said...

Nick - I think its a lesson for everyone to remember that there are people way worse off than most of us who never complain

Bobby said...

Very nice post! When I read something like this, it makes me realize that I really have nothing to complain about.

Why is it that people in positions like the inspiring fellow in your post seem to have these great attitudes? I often wonder how my attitude would be in that situation:)

Loz said...

I wonder the same thing myself Bobby and you're right it does seem to happen a lot. Maybe it is a natural part of the human spirit.