She should have said….
“I cannot accept this. It just isn’t right.
“There are so many people far, far more deserving than I.
“I cannot accept this because there’s a ten-year-old boy in Houston who had to take a break from little league because the doctors said it was time. Deprived of his game, he still packed his ball and glove and took them with him to the hospital. He wrapped them in his favorite #5 team uniform. Before he left, he called his coach and told him to watch their centerfielder because his attention seems to wander off the game and focus more on passing cars outside the fence. ‘Oh, and also,’ he said, ‘Tell our third baseman to stay in front of the ball and not back off to the side.’ Try as you may to take him away from the game, this kid will always remain in the game. Even when he’s lost too much weight, too much hair, and can’t even hold down a pretzel or a dinner roll, he’ll continue to fight the most courageous battle that could ever be asked of anyone, and sleep with that glove and ball next to his side, looking forward to that next chance to walk up to the plate.
“I cannot accept this because there are too many men and women to count who grew up participating in sports and now must watch every step they take or else it could be a moment that will change them forever. A moment that might send them home to a burn or amputation unit or in the eternal confines of a coffin. But they are athletes, have been and always will be. Every step they take, in bodies that love a great pick-up game of volleyball back at the base or an all-out 5K might be their last normal-bodied step or last step. They put their lives on the line every day. Can it not get any more courageous?
“I cannot accept this because the list goes on and on. The pediatric and adult cancer centers, the casualties of war, the bravery and tragic loss of 9/11 firemen, the policemen killed in the line of duty—so many athletes, so many endless stories of unimaginable courage. They are the stories that will dampen anyone’s day. Stories that will weigh on you like a five-ton anchor and, at the same time, lift you up with so much inspiration, you’ll forever be changed by their trials of adversity.
“I cannot accept this, because this award should never be given out. There are simply too many people, too many athletes, all equally well-deserving of its honor.
“I sought glamour, publicity, and a new self. Though I once knew a man who was very involved in sports, I have forever erased him from my past and, in doing so, I vanquished any involvement I have with athletics. I am virtually a brand new person with very little past born into an adult existence. And since my past as this new person has been so short and recent, how is it possible that I should be considered a courageous athlete, when, in fact, I have never been in sports?
“With that said, and now with much courage, I choose not to accept this award.”
Copyright Ros Hill 2015