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    15th April 2012

    My Swim With Mike speech (the power of story)…

    Swim With Mike was yesterday and was a great success. The weather cooperated and a great time was had by all. Don’t believe me? Even the UCLA-loving-anti-USC blog BeatSC calls a truce with USC one day a year for Swim With Mike. (Click the link to find out why…).

    For me, I’m a little glad it’s over because it means I can focus on my schoolwork again for a few weeks. One of the highlights of this year’s event for me was being a featured speaker at the main ceremony. I talked about some of the reasons I think Swim With Mike is an important event and organization. Here is (more or less) the text of the speech (though there were also divers warming up on the diving platforms drawing oohs and ahs from the marching band that distracted me from a few lines):

    You’ve heard a little about my story already and I would love to talk to you more about that story any time today, so don’t hesitate to say hello. First thank you to the volunteers. Thank you also to all of our participants and donors. (I wrote down what I wanted to say because I tend to talk too much).

    I’m becoming an English teacher in large part because I believe in the power of story. I believe that when we tell our stories we share part of who we are, fulfilling a deep need that we all have to be known. And when we truly listen and allow ourselves to be affected by each other’s stories we are transformed, becoming more understanding, compassionate – and passionate – people.

    There is nothing more powerful than the story of people overcoming tragedy and fulfilling their potential, and each Swim With Mike recipient – and many of you who are volunteers or participants – has such a story.

    Swim With Mike is important because it meets a need for the individual recipients, enabling them to move forward and realize their potential. I am so thankful for the support I have received from Swim With Mike, both in terms of finances, and in terms of peer support from getting to know my fellow recipients.

    Swim With Mike is also important because individuals with disabilities are at risk in this society we live in, and education mediates this risk and provides greater opportunity. The recipients in Swim With Mike are positioned well to become leaders in whatever they do, which increases the visibility of people with disabilities, can change normative attitudes, and I believe this will improve life for all those that come after.

    But Swim With Mike is also important because through it powerful stories are told. All of you here are now part of this story, and you will go out and tell others about what happens here every April, and about all of the incredible people that are here. And as our stories spread, the world will become a better place for all of us, with less inequality and more justice – and when more people can live with more freedom; when the quality of life is raised for some – all people benefit with a higher overall quality of life. When our lives are enriched by the stories of others, our quality of life necessarily improves as well.

    Thank you all so much for being here. Mike, Ron Orr, Pat Haden, the whole USC Trojan family, the Trojan marching band, the Song Girls, the football team, volunteers, and participants: Thank you!

    13th April 2012

    In case you missed it…

    Ok, so.. If you missed it, or if you just found out and are intrigued, you can listen to the interview that I did last night on JT the Brick.

    And in a few hours I’m going to try to swim a couple miles at Swim With Mike. If you have money burning a hold in your pocket right now, let me help you out of it!Help me make it at least to $500 (I’m currently at $370)…

    http://swimwithmike.org/swimmer/?swimmerID=10904

    1 comment

    12th April 2012

    On JT the Brick for Swim With Mike tonight…

    Tonight I’m doing a call-in “appearance” to talk about Swim With Mike on JT the Brick, a nationally syndicated sports talk show, at 10:45 PST (11:45 MST). If you’re in LA you can listen at AM 570, Fox Sports Radio; if you’re in Colorado you can hear the show on 104.3 the fan!

    And I would love if someone recorded it somehow, but no pressure internet.

    #32nd Annual Swim With Mike

    6th April 2012

    It’s pretty much Swim With Mike week now.

    I just got back from the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena where I talked a bit about myself and about Swim With Mike in an effort to give some extra context to the fundraising that the RBAC masters swim club is doing from Swim With Mike. To that effect it was a fun and successful trip as told the swimmers there about some of the cool things Swim With Mike does and some of the incentives that the swim-a-thon offers for masters swimmers (see the Masters Challenge for more information on that) and how the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center is working to help support Swim With Mike (Swim With Mike Week at the RBAC).

    Then I swam with the slow lane for an hour… and… got my butt kicked. I haven’t ever worked that hard swimming. Of course I’m not a real swimmer and don’t ever do real swim workouts, so that isn’t too surprising.

    Everyone was very nice and I talked to some great people.

    As another reminder to friends, family, and believers in social justice: Swim With Mike is an awesome and important organization and your participation is necessary to keep Swim With Mike alive. Please consider sponsoring me by clicking on the following link: http://swimwithmike.org/swimmer/?swimmerID=10904

    On another note, it doesn’t feel very much like Good Friday to me. I guess because I had class and Swim With Mike commitments and I tried to get free chocolate crepes at the women’s tennis match (they were out of tickets for free ones, which was surprising because last week I got an extra ticket for a free grilled cheese!). But really it mostly feels that way because I’m not around family and most of my friends here don’t observe such holy days. I am mindful, however, of the gift of life and grace and forgiveness and redemption was not an easy gift to come by – and I am thankful for that gift today.

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.