Aaron Wheelz didn’t stick the landing, but he tried again and became the definition of perseverance.
My first impression as I stumbled across the video wasn’t about the wheelchair, it was about how buff that guy was, nice tan skin, and a really cute smile. Then they go into the details of his growing up with spina bifida, overcoming his fear and disabilities at a skateboard park, and then going on to do some of the extreme stunts like the one he does for America’s Got Talent. They show him with his wife, and I feel a tad guilty crushing on him, and then I shift my mindset and I’m happy he’s got someone by his side.
His first attempt, he launches in the air, but his landing is less than stellar. What’s impressive, though, is his perseverance to get up, wheel back to the stairs, climb up, and try it again. On the way up, he calmly comments, “first one tells you what you did wrong, and then second one you come through, and strengthen it.” Despite the judges’ concern and offer that he doesn’t need to go again, he says he’s ready, he launches, and lands beautifully.
I reflected on sometimes how our media focuses so much on the perfect performance, whether it be in sports or arts or politics or music. In contrast, this story of Aaron Wheelz opens up to the bigger picture, of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into the preparation for that moment. And not merely in a verbal story of their history and journey, but in a visceral life-and-death visual experience of it.