The just concluded 12th IAAF World Championship showed us what perservance and determination is all about from a Jamaican perspective.
I grew up seeing Merlene Ottey, Juliet Cuthbert, Grace Jackson-Small and Winthrop Graham to name a few, competing and making us proud on the World Athletics stage. Even though we knew that Jamaica should be in the Top 5 it never happened at that time. The experts and sports enthusiasts wondered and pondered why. With all the success of our previous athletes at these meets we would come away with a 8th or 10th spot.
Even at the age of 12 I knew that these athletic meets were full of performance enhancement athletes and hence the ones who were running clean were unable to get their just rewards.
I am writing this to show us in the HIV community if we apply these two ingredients, perseverance and determination, as the Jamaicans have done, then we can make it. We all can be a Merlene Ottey and an Asafa Powell in our own little ways.
We affectionately called her our Bronze Queen. Each time she ran a race it was done with grace and poise even when they cheated her. How can we apply this in our life as HIV-infected persons? Each time you are taking the medication don’t see it as a negative. Take the medication with love and understanding. Instead of saying “Time for the dreaded pills’ say “It is time for my vitamins.”
You will be surprised to see the difference in your body’s reactions. Remember your mind is a powerful tool and the message you send there is what will be forwarded to the rest of the body’s members.
He is affectionately called the Sprint Prince but for me he is the Sprint King. Asafa has never won an individual Gold medal but he is the first person to take the 100m World Record to this small island Jamaica. Other Jamaicans had it before, but not under the Jamaican Flag.
Asafa’s humility and persevering attitude as a team player is what stands out the most to me. He is always there when he is needed and never backs down even when negatives are spurted at him. By adopting this attitude we will fight self discrimination. You never hear Asafa talking negative, neither does he apply excuses if he doesn’t achieve his goal. If we want to live a long and fulfilled life living with HIV then we have to forget the negatives and stop the excuses.
HIV/AIDS discrimination has changed over the years just as how athletics has. It has now becoming a cleaner sport and its credibility is now creeping back thanks to those athletes that have maintained a performance enhancement drug-free life. The fight against self-discrimination can be stopped as well if we are determined to put aside the negatives that we build around HIV/AIDS in our lives.
Join a support group either in your country or online. Think positively and always remember to LOVE yourself because no one can LOVE you the way you do.
Congratulations to the Jamaican contingent to the 2009 Athletics World Championship; once again you make me very proud to be a Jamaican.