The Missing Duck

“Sometimes you just have to lick the stamp and send it.”

Danny Ricciardo, race car driver

Have you ever heard someone announce they have a big goal or dream? And then right after that announcement their next sentence is, “I’ll get started as soon as I get my ducks in a row.”

What are they talking about?

To have your ducks in a row means to be completely prepared. You are totally organized and fully capable of achieving whatever it is you want. Once upon a time I was a Boy Scout. And I fully believe in their motto, “Be Prepared.” But sometimes you’re just not going to be able to get your ducks in a row. And sometimes some of your ducks will be missing.

Then what?

At the New York Marathon last year there were nearly 50,000 runners. This included 50 athletes competing in wheelchairs and another 50 competing with hand cycles. In other words, they didn’t let the fact that some of their ducks were missing stop them from living their dream.

Now let’s turn on the radio. Hey, they’re playing a tune by Stevie Wonder. Stevie has been blind since birth and I like what he has to say about his missing duck. “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.”

Tim Paul is a 64 year old runner who happens to be blind. And he hasn’t let this stop him from running a 26.2 mile marathon over 40 times including 4 trips to The Boston Marathon.

How about a great big shout out to the Special Olympics. Founded over 50 years ago by Eunice Shriver, sister of President Kennedy, the Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.  

At this point there is no need for you to check your map. We are in the land of no excuses.

A psychiatrist treating me for depression suggested I try running as part of my therapy. Six months into my new adventure I was one week away from running my first marathon when I read a newspaper story about a man who had just finished The New York Marathon.

November 1986, Bob Wieland set a record for running the slowest marathon race in history. Here is what you need to know about Bob. His legs were blown off by a land mine while serving as a medic in Vietnam. He finished the New York Marathon in 98 hours 48 minutes and 17 seconds. I’ll do the math for you, that’s over four days. He didn’t have a wheelchair or artificial legs. Bob ran the race using his fists to swing himself forward each step of the way.

Can’t find all your ducks? “Sometimes you just have to lick the stamp and send it.”

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“I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work and my God,”

Helen Keller, disability advocate.