I was enjoying my cup of coffee this morning – Easter Sunday – and saying goodbye to my children as I’m heading back to the United States later tonight. For those that don’t know, I have three children and my two oldest are with my ex and live here in Brazil with their mom. I come down here regularly to spend time with them and that’s one of the main reasons that Mike and I bought a place as an investment property in the Orlando area – it’s a pretty easy non-stop 8 hour commute for me to Brazil.

Well, my children had just left and I was sitting here having a cup of great Brazilian coffee and catching up on a little email. I’m really not one to watch TV. Though we have a big screen TV, I mainly use it to watch movies. I love a good movie and enjoy it turned up real loud, non-stop without interruption and just “immerse” myself in the film. It’s almost like a mini-vacation – a way to step out of my thoughts for a couple of hours. I thoroughly enjoy movies.

Why I Don’t Watch TV

But as much as I love movies, I almost never watch TV. In fact, I can count the number of hours I’ve watched TV in the past year on one hand and two of them were devoted to the Super Bowl (yeah, I know, it’s more than two hours long – so go figure, I didn’t even watch the whole thing). So what’s my issue with TV? Well, a few things, I guess.

For one, I detest commercials as they completely interrupt the main reason I enjoy watching movies – to get lost in the show. Every commercial that passes, my blood boils a little hotter and I just give up.

The second reason that I don’t watch TV is that it is such a huge waste of time. Some would describe me as a hyper-productive kind of guy. It’s not really that I’m always working, but my mind is. So much so that I always travel with a notebook (the old school one – pen and paper) no matter where I go – even if it’s just to the padaria down the street (that’s the local bakery in Portuguese). So it’s not that I’m trying to work all of the time, but it’s just that my mind goes a million miles a minute and it’s tough to shutdown. In fact, I’ve awoken many times in the middle of the night and run to the computer because an idea became so clear to me that it awoke me from my sleep.

But the real reason, the number one reason, that I don’t watch TV is that it is generally depressing. All of the news seems to be problem oriented instead of inspiration based. I’d say that 85% of the information you see is negative instead of positive and I just find all of that negativity strips my soul like a commercial grade paint stripper. I just can’t take all of the continual negativity and supposition of more negativity yet to come.

I know that it’s the job of the marketers for TV to sensationalize and to engage people and that most people want to see this, so that’s what they get. And from a marketing perspective I get that, but it doesn’t make me any more of a fan.

Why I Thoroughly Enjoyed TV Today

So, back to today.

pilao+macbookairSo there I was, sipping my Brazilian coffee and typing over my MacBook Air – Brazilian coffee and a mac, now that’s a potent combination! In fact, I think that’s deserving of an image – so lemme whip something up in Photoshop real quick… Here you go! That feels much better…

And in the background, I could hear the TV – though I wasn’t really watching it. When we’re down here in Brazil my wife really enjoys watching TV since it’s in Portuguese – she misses it while in the states, so the TV is on like 24/7 when we’re down here, though I still don’t watch it. Today, however was different.

As I was enjoying my coffee, I glanced over and saw that there was a track and field event in Rio de Janeiro being broadcast. The first couple of times I glanced at it (while still working away on email) I didn’t really notice anything different about the sprinters. They were lightening fast and just tearing up the track like a bullet shot out of a gun.

But after I glanced at it a second time, I realized there was something very, very different about this race. All of the sprinters were amputees – either one or both legs – and I was just blown away at the raw speed at which they were running. It was so inspiring for me, I really don’t know how to explain it. Here were people that had every reason in the world to complain about their life, to be depressed, to sit back and just watch life fly by, yet they had transformed their tragedy into a competitive drive. That’s right, they actually used their tragedy to drive their success – something I talk about in my very personal Lemons to Lemonade post (check it out if you haven’t).

The race that was on was a final between two sprinters – one American, Jerome Singleton, and one Brazilian, Alan Fonteles – yeah, I know, go figure. I sat in absolute amazement as I watched these professional athletes compete at Olympic level – it was inspiring and captivating. What was more inspiring though was their attitude. There was a brief interview with Alan Fonteles of Brazil and there was not the slightest flicker of thought about having a disability, no, he had a unique opportunity and he had done everything to position himself for success in his field.

Almost as if it were scripted, the American, Jerome Singleton, came off the blocks strong and had an immediate comfortable lead. In fact at the half way point, the race looked to be all over. The American had a 10 foot lead on Alan Fonteles. Then it was just amazing. It was as if Alan reached down deep and turned on the NO2 (that’s Nitrous Oxide for all of you non-drag racers). He just exploded with energy and not only overtook the American, but won with about a 25 foot lead – it was absolutely breathtaking. I found myself teary eyed watching and it motivated me to share this post with you today.

This is not the race that I witnessed, but it’s very similar in the sense that (a) Alan Fonteles wins and that (b) he does so by coming out of no where from behind – an amazing display of courage and determination. Just look and marvel at the sheer energy – it’s truly amazing