I’m Not a “Super Crip”
I’ve always had dreams. My first dream was to be an athlete. As a child, I learned that wouldn’t be possible, so eventually I set another big dream… to be an announcer for an NFL team. As I approached the realization of that dream as host of Cardinal Talk on the Arizona Cardinals Radio Network, I realized that I had a more important contribution. That’s not meant to slight sportscasters. I envy them. But I felt a calling to change the world’s perception of people with disabilities through mass media, and in the process, help along the necessary changes for people with disabilities.
That’s why I started “On A Roll – Talk Radio on Life & Disability.” After 14 years of talking about the same changes needed in the world of disability rights, I realized the strength to make these changes would come from economic power (political power) from within our movement. I decided that instead of raising the same issues for another 14 years, it would be better to help our people believe in ourselves, set high goals, and define ourselves instead of accepting the definition that society labels us with (dependent, isolated, sexless, jobless, envious… to name a few). This would lead to employment, income, financial power and the ability to establish momentum in our movement.
As I started to research self advocacy, self determination, motivation and inner strength, I realized that the formulas for success are no different for people with disabilities than for anyone. And there is room for improvement in these areas for everyone. That’s why I shelved “On A Roll” and became “The Strength Coach.”
I know there is a stigma about the stereotypical “motivational” disabled person, the “super-crip” who accomplishes amazing things despite his/her disability. I hope you don’t see me in that way. I’m simply a person who has always had big dreams, who has always defined himself instead accepting the box that society wanted to place me in, and never gave up on my dreams. My disability has nothing to do with those traits. Furthermore, disability crosses the entire spectrum of human characteristics. As a result, there are motivational people with disabilities and depressing people with disabilities. Funny people. Sad people. Angry people. Happy people. Brilliant people and bonehead people. Straight people and gay people. I just happen to be a motivated and motivational person.
Speaking of gay people, their movement should be an example to the disability rights movement. They have economic power, political power and the attention of the mass media. Every day, without exception, there are gay rights issues in the news. More and more, movies and television shows have homosexual characters and story lines. I dream of a day when the disability community will get the same respect and focus that our gay brothers and sisters have earned. To get there we need to feel good about ourselves, establish our dreams, define ourselves, and be persistent.
To fans of the old “On A Roll” show, I want to let you know that I didn’t abandon you. I wanted to explain my motivation, and I want to ask you to help fan the flames of the new “Inner Strength Movement.” Forward the message. Subscribe to the blog. And look for opportunities for me to personally bring the message to the people you most want to inspire. Thanks for your support over these many years!