While attending a gathering at LCBC a few months back I got to hear the great ice skater Scott Hamilton interviewed about his life struggles. What a story that man has to tell!
Scott was an adopted child who had a mysterious illness which caused him to stop growing. Doctors at the time mis-diagnosed him with cystic fibrosis and gave him just six months to live.
The diagnosis was of course wrong and he has lived much longer than that. When Scott was as an adult doctors discovered a congenital brain tumor in his brain that was causing severe migraines. This was later removed with brain surgery, and identified as the source for his small stature throughout life.
As Scott grew up he always the tiniest kid in his grade. Certainly a tough spot to be in as a boy, this had been seen as a limitation, sort of a handicap. He found freedom and purpose in ice skating. His height actually became an advantage. He went on to win four consecutive U.S. championships, four consecutive World Championships, and a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. His signature move is a backflip on the ice and his fancy footwork sequences.
In retirement Scott co-founded, co-produced, and performed in the Stars on Ice for 15 years, entertaining millions of fans around the world.
A statement Scott made during this interview was quite profound and left an impression on me. He said, “The only true handicap is a bad attitude”. That really hit a nerve with me.
How many times do we see people challenged with misfortunes in life or with physical handicaps completely dominating a sport and overcoming the greatest of odds? I’m always amazed to see their strength of will and spirit.
This just goes to show that only we can limit ourselves. Not our circumstances, misfortunes, or handicaps. Our mental strength and power of will can overcome anything. Quite often, people who are perfectly healthy turn out lazy with bad attitudes and underperform and fail repeatedly.
Scott’s right and it’s a good lesson to remember. He’s living proof. The only true handicap is a bad attitude.