September 2, 2013
Many folks watched in amazment today as Diana Nyad, age 64. completed her fifth and final swim attempt from Cuba to the Florida with success. After 53 hours, she walked onto the beach and bravely told the crowd that she had three messages.
“One should never, ever give up.” That message should hit hard to every person that thinks our struggle is useless in the face of such a seemingly out-of-control government and an industrial complex hell bent on destroying what we want to save. Far too many times I’ve seen good, strong people absolutely fold when nothing seems to change. Bills are presented in Congress, then fail when some Senator Somebody places them on hold. States promote abuse, neglect and killing and fail to listen to the majority of their citizens. Bad guys do bad things to animals walk away with a slap on the wrist.
We have every reason to be frustrated and angry, but folding should never be an option. Nyad started her attempt to conquer that strip of water in 1978. It took five strong attempts before she finally walked onto the beach in Key West. That’s commitment.
“You are never too old to chase your dreams.” This one belongs to a few of us older folks, and we take it seriously. It’s long past the time I should have kicked back and enjoyed retirement. I can’t, not as long as a horse in in trouble. While it’s just a personal thing, I have a few very specific goals in this life. One is to see this organization become strong enough that it will continue far after I’m gone. The second is to see the end of horse slaughter in America. I might never reach those goals, but I’m damn sure going to keep trying.
“It looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” Within those words is a ton of advice for all of us. Back in the early days of Habitat for Horses, I did pretty much everything. Now I stand around, drink coffee and mumble a lot. That’s because I’ve built a strong team of exceptional individuals who all share the same vision. In the battle against horse slaughter, we really haven’t succeeded in building that team. We’re still fractured, with infighting and flag-waving diverting many from the single focus and determination we need. Much to the delight of the “other side,” we often fail to back one another up or join forces when it’s to our advantage to do so. That picture to the right pretty much says it all.
Nyad’s success is a triumphant statement to the power of determination in the face of extreme adversity. Five times she tried, and on that last attempt she finally stepped on the beach and stood proudly as her “team” cheered her success. She was 29 on her first attempt. She won at age 64.
Was this about horses? Yes, and about our life, about our children and about the future of our country. “Never, ever give up.”