“You are not ordinary, your circumstance is not ordinary, what you are here to do is not ordinary.”
This Friday concludes the second week of MSBA. As I look around, the people sitting with me are no longer strangers but good friends – each of us becoming increasingly comfortable in this amazing big city, each of us making a difference in our internships, each of us embracing every new opportunity we come across. This experience has been nothing short of incredible, and it has only been 12 days. With each new day comes new experiences, like Madison Square Garden, the driving range at 6am, and the Yankees game with our mentors. We are living the sports person’s dream, and it was not until this last speaker series that I really had time to reflect back on the opportunity we have all been given, and how unordinary this experience truly.
Richard Bernstein, long time friend of Ben Sturner, was generous enough to speak to our MSBA class tonight. The minute that Ben introduced him I knew that it would be an amazing speech, but little did I know how much of an impact Richard’s speech would have on all of us. Richard Bernstein is a leading advocate for disabled rights. Blind since birth, Richard continues to defy the odds and prove that it is not our circumstances that define us but how we defy those circumstances and overcome all odds that inevitably speak to our character.
Furthermore Richard reminded us all of why it is that we love sports, because unlike much of the world, sports does not discriminate; it unifies. This was evidenced by the profound unifying impact Richard’s run at the Israman Triathlon in 2011. A city ravaged by a bomb found hope in Richard’s determination and perseverance to not let the bad overcome what is good. I, like most of the participants in MSBA, chose to come here this summer because, like Richard, sports mean more than just a win or loss, or even a favorite pastime; sport is a tool that helps the ordinary become extraordinary. Sports have helped many of us create a new beginning, connect with people from all over the world, unify a community, or experience something we might not have otherwise experienced.
“You are not ordinary, your circumstance is not ordinary, what you are here to do is not ordinary.” These were the defining words of Richard’s speech. To go through life everyday wishing to be overlooked or wishing to just keep the status quo does not help better the world or yourself. Richard inspired me, and everybody in the program to make the most out of this opportunity that only a rare number are given, but that is so easily taken for granted. I will take what Richard has taught us and use it as we prepare for the NBA Draft at my internship with Landmark Sports, and keep in mind as we experience all New York and MSBA has to offer.
We have already experienced and done an incredible amount so far this summer, and I cannot wait to see what the rest has to offer. Richard inspired the members of MSBA 2014 to take each day and make it his or her own.