Faced with the task of writing a paper on a specific act of courage my initial reaction was that of total uncertainty. Later that evening, as I lay in my bed watching television I pondered what topic to do for the paper. Then the sportscaster on the news began an interview with Jim Abbott a well-known major league pitcher. I thought to myself, this is perfect! Jim Abbott is a man who shows courage when the odds are against him. He is fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing professional baseball despite the fact that he was born without a right hand. Whenever I see Jim pitch, I am reminded of something that happened when I was about 8 or 9 at summer camp.
Before that summer, I had always felt pity for people who were physically challenged especially Justin Berger. Justin, a boy in my age group at Camp Wayne, who was born with some kind of illness that prevented him from controlling the movements of his left hand. I never teased him or talked badly about him to others; what I did in some ways was much worse. I labeled him “different.” I saw him as inferior and thought that he needed some extra leeway in such activities as sports. However, Justin saw his handicap as a motivator, a reason to work harder and excel in all aspects of camp life. Camp Wayne was very competitive; the summer culminated with four days of intense sports competition called Color War. It was during Color War that my view of Justin changed.
During Color War the whole camp is divided into two teams. The teams play each other in various competitions and sports for 4 days and at the end of the fourth day the points are tallied up to see who won. It was the last day of Color War, the day everything would be decided. There was not one camper whose heart wasn’t rushing with intense emotions and pride. It was about 3:00, the voice over the intercom said it is now time for second period; everyone except the A & B groups (the youngest campers)... [continues]
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