Before my injury, I often found inspiration in my life through sports.
I am a Duke Blue Devils Fan. And I love it when my team inspires me. I played Basketball in High School and loved it.
But it wasn’t until I moved to North Carolina to attend graduate school in economics at Duke that I really became an avid college basketball fan. The rivalries in ACC Basketball take the sport to a whole new level. And I realized that following the team provided good everyday conversation with those around me. From my perspective, the choice was either to follow basketball, or not be able to talk to those around me about anything but economics during basketball. I chose to follow basketball.
And the biggest moment of inspiration was watching the Blue Devils journey to win their National Championship in 1991.
To understand why the 1991 season was so inspiring, you would need to know The Blue Devils had lost by 30 points to UNLV (University of Nevada at Las Vegas) in the final game in 1990.
I remember sitting on the bleachers at Gregory Gym with other students cheering for Duke to make a come-back. Duke trailed UNLV almost the entire game. We were cheering and thinking — if our team could just get within 20 points, this could be a game! That is a hard cheer to have to be making.
So knowing that my team had lost big in a big game on national tv in 1990 made watching their win over UNLV in the semi-final game thrilling the next year.
I watched that game in Gregory gym also and it was a hard fought game. In the end, Duke was victorious.
I went to Gregory Gym to watch the game in order to have the memory of watching the team win replace the memory of the loss. Their win is indeed what I remember.
Then, they went on to win the National Championship in the final game over Michigan.
Watching the team play on tv now, always brings back the great memory of watching their ultimate triumph in the 1991 season. It inspires me.
Another moment of inspiration, before my injury, that I carry with me is an experience of going to the Fine Arts Museum in Boston over the Thanksgiving day weekend while visiting my aunt and uncle. I was looking carefully at a painting I liked in a back room, off the beaten track. And I realized that Steven Wright was looking at the painting next to me. I had seen Steven Wright perform his comedy at Duke and had met him through his then-manager Tom Hutchinson, a friend of a friend.
Steven told me that in order to spur his creativity and to keep himself inspired, he had to get away from his daytime routine and he would visit museums or do something different. I had never thought about doing something like that to inspire my work.
Later, a couple of years after my accident when I was still trying to keep my life from going from bad to worse, I started the habit of planning to go to the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC where I lived for an hour of month to inspire myself through art.
Thank you Steven Wright for teaching me such a great habit — it was one of many things that kept me going!
I have been really challenged by both my injury and by the difficulty that I had finding and getting to all the appropriate rehabilitation I needed and I am grateful to all those who helped me find my way including many great health professionals and doctors as well as friends and family.