An Olympian With an ‘Olympic Day’ Perspective
Just yesterday, a very shy six-year-old girl approached me with downcast eyes and caved in shoulders.
“Can I have your autograph please?” She spoke in such a whisper of a voice that I could barely make out her words.
I was suddenly blind-sided by the familiar pain of childhood, and the memory of my mother’s voice in my ears of, “You are not good enough and never will be!”
You see, this little girl reminded me of what I was like when I was six years old…abandoned, abused, and raised in an orphanage in remote Louisiana.
Now as a mature woman who has conquered extreme odds and risen from the ashes to hover in the clouds with accomplishments in Olympics, Hollywood Film and Life…this little girl reminded me that I have been given a great gift in life; that of self-confidence, self-esteem and courage.
Greeting her with a smile I said, “My what pretty blond hair you have!” “What’s your name?”
“Sylvia” She replied quietly…still not meeting my gaze.
“Why do you want my autograph Sylvia?”
Looking at me for the first time with blazing blue eyes and a very slight smile, she replied, “One day, I want to be strong like you!” And she quickly lowered her eyes once again.
“Well, Sylvia, do you know what I think?” I asked her as I took the crumpled up paper from her hands and straightened it out. She shook her head to answer ‘No.’
“I think you already are strong Sylvia.” “You just don’t know it here (and I touched her head), and here” (and I gently pressed my fingers above her heart).
“You see?” I continued. And she looked up at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. “It took a LOT of courage to come up here and ask me for this autograph.” “So this tells me that you ARE brave and very strong!”
“Really” she spoke in a much firmer tone?
“Really!” I replied and I signed the autograph, gave her a big hug and then handed the paper to her.
She giggled as she took the autograph and clutched it tightly to her heart. Then with her head held high and a beautiful smile on her face, she turned and skipped her way back through the heavy mass of kids, teens and adults crowding around.
With a radiant smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, I turned and greeted the next person in line.
Later, as I walked back to my car to leave, I realized that the most wonderful gift that I had been given in life…was to have the privilege to share a little bit of courage, self-confidence and self-esteem with those who needed it most.
To me, THIS was what ‘Olympic Day’ was truly about!
Dana Lynn Hee
(Posted on Facebook June 23rd 2010)