One of my all-time favorite movies is Being There. The 1979 comedy/drama features Peter Sellers, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Sellers plays a simple-minded, naïve adult named Chance who has lived his entire life behind the walls of a brownstone in urban Washington, DC. His only socialization has come from watching television and through his interactions with the old man who owns the house and his maid. The movie begins with the death of the old man, which triggers the sale of the house and forces Chance to leave home for the first time in his life. Through a twist of fate, and the perception that his naiveté is actually profound wisdom, Chance becomes a close advisor and friend to a very wealthy and politically influential businessman, played Melvyn Douglass…who won an Academy Award for his performance.
I know…this it too much information, but hang in there. The movie ends with the President delivering the eulogy at the businessman’s funeral, and his remarks include quotes made by the businessman over his lifetime. As Chance meanders around the grounds of the outdoor service during the eulogy, the President reads the quote, “Life….is a state of mind” while Chance literally walks on the surface of a reflecting pool...as if his complete innocence exempts him from the physical limitations of this world.
A long-winded intro to this week’s blog posting…but you have to see the movie. I was reminded of that quote – “Life is a state of mind” – after learning of two very special lacrosse players who have overcome enormous challenge to pursue their passion. The first is Noah Grove, who lives near Frederick, Maryland, which is in the western part of the state. Noah’s a nine-year-old who plays many sports but recently started playing lacrosse, and his Mom told me that he really likes it. Unlike other kids on the field, however, Noah only has one leg. But that hasn’t slowed him down a bit. When he was four, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and his left leg was amputated to save his life. Five years later, he’s as active a boy as you can imagine, and lacrosse is quickly becoming one of his favorite sports. Learn more about Noah here www.noahscourage.com. You can also see a video about Noah here www.abilitypo.com
Then there’s Connor McKemey, who lives in South Carolina, only about 20 miles from Charlotte. Connor has been playing lacrosse for about five years, and it’s become his passion. But his life changed suddenly in December of 2008, when an outdoor fireplace exploded and left him with burns over 90% of his body. His parents were told he would not live through the night. Connor spent two months in a coma, four months in ICU and lost several fingers and part of his right foot. But as soon as he awoke from the coma, he wanted to see if he could hold his lacrosse stick. A year later, he’s a freshman middie on the Fort Mill High School JV team. "I don't want to be the burned lacrosse player,” Connor told his Mom, “I just want to be a good lacrosse player." You can read more about Connor here www.mckemeystrong.com
Noah and Connor remind us all that life truly is a state of mind.