Born with Cerebral Palsy, sports was my connection to being accepted as me. I played wheelchair basketball, tennis, threw the football, and swung a bat. But my life really took off when I discovered weight lifting. For the past 36 years, I have been weight training at Heroes Gym Meta in Midland, Texas. As the members observe me, they watch me put in work and lift with a passion. And damn am I strong! My fellow gym rats call me the beast and know I mean business. I am blessed to be loved and respected in the gym, my domain, despite my disability.
I still remember rolling into my first gym here in Midland, Texas. I felt the eyes looking at me and the mummers in the background wondering, "Why is he here? He's in a wheelchair." In a short time, I made tons of friends and gained their respect through my lifting. I am small but I pack a punch. In many instances, I have bench pressed over 225 lbs and leg pressed 200 lbs.
For me, my day begins at 8 am at my job at Senior Life Midland, as I have been a Project Director for the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program for 25 years now, and my day ends at 7 pm. When I arrive at home from the gym, I train 5 - 6 days a week and don't feel complete unless I am working out. Working out gives me a purpose and I realize I am blessed. Suffering 3 near fatal heart attacks and a severe cervical nerve impingement that left me 8 months without the use of my right arm, I know I am blessed by God.
There are so many that say I am their motivation and I am glad I can be, but the gym is my passion and my second home. The gym is a place where I fit in, enjoy every moment, and where the beast in the chair comes out.
Image credit: Saul