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Gloomy here, glorious in Rio.



I spent all morning watching the Closing Ceremony of the Rio Olympics. I didn't watch the Olympics as much this time as I have in the past as I think like so many I got disillusioned by the scandals and the drug cheats. I always had such an admiration for those who won a medal, I sat up late watching those Olympic sports in which people made a huge effort to train themselves and I of course wanted our Aussie team to be the best. I was unaware until the past few years of the amount of cheating by using drugs in sport until it became big news. From then on I guess I questioned who did win by cheating and who won through honest effort. And that took the gloss of the Games.


I've always seen the battle back from stroke as being like an Olympic sport, the trainers are the therapists, the supporters are the family members who act as a cheer squad and the athletes are the survivors, striving to get back to their old normal or creating a new normal, Like the training required to be an elite athlete it is a matter of many years of training not just a few days before it happens and that being a journey full of frustrations and problems. Reading the posts and blogs on here you realise that it takes a lot of will power to get better and some people do not have that, their will to recover is just not there after the stroke. This can be frustrating for themselves and their family but we can all strive for a personal best in some aspect of our lives.


I have always loved the story of those who contestants who come from countries without suitable sporting facilities, who battle from a poor childhood with little encouragement to being an Olympian, not maybe a medal contender but the best their country has produced in their given race. It is delightful to see that it is not just who has the most money spent on them who wins but there are a lot of other factors too. Of course good training does make a huge difference and you can see that in the contestants who come from the richer countries so it is not quite a level playing field and that is a pity. So I don't look at the medal tally but look at the effort it has taken the contestants to get there.


I think that is my attitude to life too. From an early age I was taught to be a helper and that some things we do do make a difference in the lives of others. My Dad would mow lawns for the neighbourhood seniors, all they had to do was pay for the mower fuel, my Mum would go to their homes and cut their hair. My Mum would get me to run errands for old ladies. She would say: "You have young legs" and that was enough reason in her eyes. I still run errands for old ladies...though I am approaching the "old lady age" myself. I still have good legs, not legs of beauty but ones that are useful. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or I hope so. We can all help others in some way despite our limitations.


One of my mentors when I was young was a very intelligent lady who had polio in her forties, which meant she left her good job in Sydney and moved in to live with her brother who had a small Used Car business close to his house. Some Saturdays I went down to be her legs while her brother drove cars back from dealers in Sydney. All I had to do was make her cups of tea and a sandwich for her lunch, in exchange she introduced me to good literature and poetry and discussed current affairs with me as if I were an adult. I gained much more than she did from those afternoons and i am grateful for that. As I watched her drag herself around on crutches with her iron legs braces I knew I was watching an act of bravery. I think that gave me more understanding when Ray had the strokes and had difficulty walking.


Today it is overcast and gloomy and rain is predicted. I often try to have Mondays off as I have busy weekends now. It is a day when I like to catch up on jobs around the house. I did go out to do some gardening but there is a bitter wind blowing so I guess there has been snow down south. That is why I gave myself a break and watched the Closing Ceremony with a clear conscience, nothing much else I could do. Except there is the cleaning and the ironing etc but I am blinkered and cannot see those jobs waiting to be done...lol. And that is life as a retired widow, do it, don't do it, my choice.


I hope you all enjoyed the break from bad news and watched your favorite sports in the Olympics, there were four TV stations covering it this year for me so lots of choices for what I wanted to watch. I might just boast modestly about the Women's Sevens winning their first football gold medal. Swimmers come and go but the women footballers who won that gold will boost women's sports for years to come. And we need that as men's sports are sponsored at a much higher rate than women's sports are here. And we do need girls to play sports, to keep themselves fit and disciplined.


And so I was glad it was gloomy here but glorious in Rio as I had a good reason to watch the pick of the youth of the world who engaged in the Olympics having fun together as they said their farewells. Bravo.


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I too was inspired by watching the olympics. Tried to imagine playing beach volleyball with a dislocated shoulder like Keri Walsh Jennings did and seeing all those gymnasts taped up to enable them to continue performing. Each of the athletes was a reminder of attitude and commitment. I should probably have left some of the recordings on to lift my spirits on days when it all just seems too hard.

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