‘Horton Hears A Who’ — Hearing The Voices Of Athletes With Disabilities

Jul 19, 2017
Tagged with: ‘Horton Hears A Who’ — Hearing The Voices Of Athletes With Disabilities

We Are Here

We Are Here

These are the words the beloved Dr. Seuss’ character, Horton the Elephant, hears one day. While faint, Horton can hear the infinitesimally small mantra although others cannot. He soon discovers an entire microscopic group of beings living on a mere speck that is actually the tiny planet of Whoville. Since no one else seems to hear them, Horton takes it upon himself to protect them until he is able to help the planet’s residents prove their existence. In the end, he is successful and finally the rest of the world hears their chorus for recognition.

Similar to many of Dr. Seuss’ other writings, this enchanting children’s story contains an underlying social meaning. We need our Horton. Actually we need a tribe of Hortons. But who is the “we” are referring to here?

There exists a neglected and ignored community occupying a speck in the sporting universe who needs a Horton to hear them and acknowledge them to others. This “we” is the community of athletes with disabilities in sport. We need advocates who strongly believe athletes with disabilities merit inclusion in all levels of our sports culture. We need visionaries and leaders and prophets who believe unfailingly in the noise from the speck. And we are no different from other marginalized groups who have sought to have their voices heard in sport as well – women, people of color, and the LGBT community as examples. There has always been more than one speck hoping to be heard!

We also need for all of us who are on the speck to believe, to be loud, and then even louder and louder! We cannot doubt. We cannot be shy. We cannot stop! We cannot believe that what we currently have is enough. We have to believe in the broader universe and galaxy to which we belong.

We may be small but we are mighty and deserve a rightful place to be actors in the sporting world. And as Horton famously says, “A person is a person, no matter how small!” We cannot segregate and separate ourselves. We must keep pushing for full inclusion and full equality.

Of course, Horton may initially face skeptics and doubters who challenge him, but their minds and hearts can be converted if they allow the epiphany of a new worldview to appear. A new way to conceptualize an inclusive sporting landscape will emerge.

We Are Here

We Are Here

This mantra can empower, motivate, and inspire action for all of us in sport to become more inclusive. This inclusive vision needs to have the goal of creating opportunities at all levels for children and adults with disabilities to play, participate, compete, and be visible for all to see. In our schools, communities, sports organizations, and sports media, the norm must be to create innovative events, programs and opportunities that include athletes with disabilities.

We need a Horton. We need as many Hortons as possible as allies to ensure that athletes with disabilities are never ignored, never forgotten. We need this to happen at every level of the sport industry – locally, nationally, and internationally.

We Are Here

We Are Here

 

Courtesy of Eli Wolf @eliwoff10

Mary Humes @mahums

Author: Eli Wolff



  • http://golfwik.com Paul Durante

    Totally agree! All the admiration is for these special athletes. It is sad to know that some people still have prejudice or horrible attitudes towards them. There was a visually-impaired man in a golf club that I join. And he was really a star in this sport! Disabilities can never defeat these people’s willpower! Very admirable! And yes, we are here for all of you.