Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I spent a lot of time considering the media representation, or over-representation of the "alpha crip." This isn't considered a derogatory term, and it's one I've read used in articles about high-achieving disabled athletes.
This web page includes brief bios of "roll models," men and women who have overcome a lot of obstacles, literally, to become their best selves. Among them is the amazing Rick Hansen of Vancouver, Canada, who wheeled 25,000 miles around the world in 1985 in a stunning two-year marathon through 34 countries. Hansen's Institute and PR efforts on behalf of spinal cord research have expanded the possibilities and public image of wheelchair users, specifically in athletics.
While the reality is that the majority of disabled people are economically underprivileged and not athletic, I took into account that Everett was a high-achieving athlete and scholar before we meet him in Every Time I Think of You. Reasonably, despite his bouts of self-doubt, anger and depression, he does come to regain much of his energy and interest in athletics, albeit in a different sport. Hopefully, he can be seen as a "roll model," even if he is a fictional one.