by Joe Auer, SwimmerJoe
Photo: The Associated Press
Have you ever become obsessed with accomplishing a goal? Have you ever been so focused that it haunts your nights and consumes your days? It eats away at you until you have no choice but to try and conquer it? Have you ever been so determined that nothing will stand in your way, and not even age will set a boundary?
Well, driving home from swim practice today, I heard the Orlando’s WDBO radio personality Scott Anez talk about the failed fourth attempt of Diana Nyad trying to cross the Florida straits at the age of 62. He said, “I think, Diana, it’s time to hang up the goggles.”
Uh, Scott, why would you say this? Because she didn’t make it all the way to Florida? Because she could only swim for sixty hours straight? Because the only reason she got out was because her team forced her to abandon due to the thunder and lightning that made it too dangerous for her crew to even be out there? How is this a failing on Diana’s part?
How could Scott possibly think Diana should give up and not try again? How could he think that she doesn’t have what it takes to achieve her dreams, just because she didn’t on her fourth attempt. (Uh, how many times did it take Thomas Edison to perfect the light bulb? Glad he didn’t give up after the fourth time!)
So, according to Scott we should just give up because we can’t achieve something immediately… or because we are too old. I just don’t get his argument. Should Olympic swimmer Dara Torres (age 44) have stopped competing earlier? (Mind you she swam faster at the Olympic Trials in 2008 than she ever had, plus and American Record at age 41.)
What about the NFL’s George Blanda, age 48? Satchel Page, age 59? Martina Navratilova, age 49? Or even George Foreman, age 48? (What was it he said after his last match? That he was laughing all the way to the bank!)
All of these extraordinary individuals did awesome achievements well past their so-called prime. They continued doing what they love to do, and who are we to tell them to stop, hang up the cleats, or throw in the towel?
So, Scott, what if WDBO said to you that you should hang up the mic because they are hiring somebody younger? What would you do? Go to the old folks’ home and play checkers while waiting for the dinner bell? No, you love what you do so you would find another market because radio is a part of you. That’s called passion and who are we to judge another’s heart and determination?
By the way, at the age of 62, Diana Nyad went further in time than she did in 1978 as a youngin’. This time it took box jelly-fish, 3 storms with lightning, and major sharks all at the same time on her 3rd day without sleep, for her crew to finally pull her out of the ocean.
Shame on you, Scott. Let’s see you try swimming for one hour straight, let alone sixty plus! If that’s too hard, I guess there’s always checkers!