What do you need to succeed in wrestling and in life?
C. Arms and legs
If you answered D, you get it. Succeeding in life, like in wrestling, requires heart…inspiration. It does not require money, although money certainly can help pay the rent. It does not require resources, as those with heart create their own resources and make it work with whatever they’ve got. As the following story will illustrate, it doesn’t even requires arms or legs.
Meet Dayton Webber, an 11-year-old boy from Charles County, Maryland. No arms, no legs, but a huge heart–a real inspiration to me. Dayton wrestles for his local wrestling club, Rampage Wrestling; and he plays football, too–on the defensive line–for a youth football league. Despite the fact that he has been without arms or legs since he was 11-months old, he partakes in all childhood activities that interest him. These include ice skating, go-cart racing and skateboarding, which he routinely performs tricks on, like doing handstands on his arm stumps. Pretty incredible if you ask me.
Does Dayton cry about his predicament, playing the victim when things don’t go his way? Does he blame presidential administrations or institutions for the obstacles he faces in his daily life? Does he refrain from doing the things he loves because he lacks resources (arms and legs)? Nope. He goes into his heart and follows his inspiration. Now that’s someone to learn from.
I really do find people like Dayton Webber inspirational. My first exposure to the greatness that lies within the heart of “disabled” people* was when I caught a piece on HBO’s Real Sports about Kyle Maynard, another quad amputee that wrestled and played football in high school, got straight A’s in school, and was living his dreams of going to college, writing a book, public speaking, and enjoying his girlfriend. My friends will attest that I saved that piece for two years, making any and every unsuspecting guest watch it.
The take home lesson in both Dayton Webber’s and Kyle Maynard’s stories is NOT that we should be grateful for how much more we have than them (which seemed to be the common sentiment of my guests and people interviewed in the Dayton Webber article), but instead that the circumstances in your life matter far less than how your mind perceives those circumstances. And following your inspired heart will lead you to the life of your dreams, circumstances aside.
Sometimes it takes exceptional people like Dayton Webber and Kyle Maynard to remind us of this truth.
*I don’t really care for the common use of this word, as I find that people who live by the victim mentality are far more disabled than people who “just do it”.