The first game of the NBA championship series is history and the San Francisco Warriors are winners. This team has recently come back from being down three games to one in the Western conference final against the Olkahoma City Thunder to win a seventh game. The great majority of sports fans were certain that the Thunder would eliminate the Warriors in game six, especially after the convincing way that they’d eliminated the San Antonio Spurs earlier, but the Warriors shocked them with an amazing come-back to win the game in the fourth quarter. Then they went on to defeat the Thunder in a convincing fashion in game seven. Now the Warriors have defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one; a re-match of last year’s final. However, my faith is definitely in the Warriors to repeat as NBA champions because they’ve already demonstrated that they possess that rare combination of qualities that make up a champion’s heart.
The reason why I’m so confident in my own prediction is, because I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to witness those same critical qualities in my own life. I suffered a catastrophic stroke while visiting Columbus, Ohio in early September of 2002. I was already totally blind and had been since 1973. However, I’d refused to allow my disability to limit my capabilities. Therefore, I’d graduated from the Virginia State School for the Deaf and Blind in 1975 and was admitted to the Virginia State College at Petersburg in the fall of that same year. I’d graduated in the spring of 1978 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Minor in Psychology. Next I was admitted to the Ohio State University in the fall of 1978 and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Political Science in the spring of 1979. However, I returned to the Ohio State University and earned another Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies graduating in December of 1980.
I was determined not to lose my personal independence and was committed to doing whatever it took to keep it. The stroke completely paralyzed my entire right side. I was in Grant Hospital for two and a half months, where I’d been taken after suffering the stroke. However, after the first week, they started my rehabilitation program. It was a grueling ordeal to say the least; one hour doing various leg and hand exercises and the next hour to rest. This routine continued for a total of eight hours per day for the next two and one half months until I was finally able to walk without assistance. Furthermore, I’d also regained nearly a hundred percent use of my right leg, arm, and hand too. This rehabilitation program was cruelly intensive and brutally exhausting but I refused to give up because I definitely wanted to return to my own home and live independently again.
However, when Iwas released from Grant Hospital in Columbus, Ohio in mid-November, I was advised that it was only on the condition that I agree to continue my therapy with another approved health care facility. Since I’d been living in, Skippers, a small rural hamlet in South-Eastern Virginia, my doctors at Grant Hospital, had recommended that I resume my therapy at the Medical College of Virginia or (MCV) a renowned teaching hospital located in Richmond. Consequently, I arranged to move in with, Walter Jarrett, one of my best friends, who was already living in Richmond. Walter took me to my rehabilitation cessions twice a week for the next ten months until I was released. Because of my own personal faith, discipline and determination, I’d indeed met my medical and personal goal; to return to my own home and live independently. However, it was really a team effort; I wouldn’t and certainly couldn’t have ever achieved such a lofty goal without the invaluable Physical Therapy professionals that challenged, constantly encouraged, and at times, literally forced me to continue with my therapy, especially during those times in the beginning when I grew frustrated, angry, and wanted to quit because I’d loss faith that I’d ever recover the use of my limbs. So it was my faith in God and the critical encouragement of my therapists that allowed me to hold on and just keep pressing on, that finally got me to my goal. Therefore, I’ve witnessed that same kind of faith and confidence in the San Francisco Warriors team and that’s why I’m convinced that they too, will repeat as NBA champions.