Monday, February 15, 2016

Roger Crawford's Incredible Story Roger Crawford was an avid visualizer. He was born in October, 1960, with rare birth defects that included a thumb-like projection extending directly out of his right forearm and a thumb and one finger stuck out of his left forearm. He had no palms. His arms and legs were shortened. He had only three toes on his shrunken right foot and a withered left leg, which was later amputated. The doctor said that Roger would never walk or be able to take care of himself. Fortunately, his parents did not accept this. They taught their son that he was only as handicapped as he wanted to be. Roger said, “They never allowed me to feel sorry for myself or take advantage of people because of my handicap.” To complete his homework, Roger had to hold his pencil with both hands, writing very slowly. As a result, he regularly got into trouble because his school papers were late. To remedy the situation, Roger asked his dad to write a note to his teachers requesting a two-day extension. Instead, his dad made Roger start writing the papers two days earlier. As Roger puts it, “My parents always taught me that I was only as handicapped as I wanted to be.” Roger’s father encouraged him to get involved in sports. He taught him how to catch and throw a volleyball and play backyard football. At age twelve, Roger won a spot on the school football team. Before every game, Roger visualized his dream of scoring a touchdown. One day, the ball landed in his arms. Off he ran as fast as he could on his artificial leg. Everyone cheered wildly. At the ten-yard line, a fellow from the other team grabbed his left ankle. Roger tried to pull his artificial leg free, but instead he ended up having his leg pulled off. Can you imagine the surprise of the opposing player who was left holding a leg? Roger, still standing, and without anything else to do, hopped across the goal line. The referee threw his hands up in the air. “Touchdown!” Roger puts it this way, “You know, even better than the six points, was the look on the face of the other kid who was holding my artificial leg.” With each experience, Roger’s confidence grew. He loved sports so much that every obstacle dissolved with his determination to play. Along the way, he developed a philosophy. “You can’t do everything. It’s better to concentrate on what you can do.” He could swing a tennis racket. Unfortunately, when he swung it too hard, his weak grip would launch it into space. As luck, or the Universe, would have it, Roger stumbled on an odd-looking tennis racket in a sports shop. He could wedge his finger between its double-barred handle when he picked it up. The snug fit with the racket made it possible for Roger to swing, serve, and volley like an able-bodied tennis player. He practiced daily and soon was playing and losing matches. Roger persisted. He practiced and practiced. Surgery on his left hand enabled him to grip his special racket better, thus greatly improving his game. He became obsessed with tennis and, in time, started to win. He went on to play college tennis, finishing his tennis career with twenty-two wins and eleven losses. He later became the first physically handicapped player to be certified as a teaching professional by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Roger now tours the country, speaking to groups about what it takes to be a winner, no matter who you are. “The only difference between you and me is that you can see my handicap, but I can’t see yours. We all have them. When people ask me how I’ve been able to overcome my physical handicaps, I tell them that I haven’t overcome anything. I simply learned what I can’t do, such as play the piano or eat with chopsticks. But more importantly, I’ve learned what I can do. Then, I do it with all my heart and soul.” That is the prescription for success." Doea that prescription work for you? If not, what is your formula for success? __________________________________________________________