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  • Writer's pictureD. Randall Faro

Ask Shaquem

Shaquem Griffin is an able young man. He is a star linebacker on the University of Central Florida football team. He was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. He helped lead the UCF Knights to an undefeated 13-0 season in 2017, the only college team in the country to attain such. He was also a star player in the win over Auburn in the 2018 Peach Bowl. The last thing in the world he (or anyone else in the world) would consider himself to be is disabled. Keem (his nickname) only has one hand, his left hand beomg amputated at age four due to a rare childhood disease.

Everybody is limited in the things they can do by something or other. Due to my genetics, I could never be an NFL defensive tackle. But I have spent a lifetime as a wordsmith, using written and spoken language to try and help make the world a better place. Keem is not able to play the violin. But he has spent his life thus far developing his body to play the game he loves: football.

Everyone has talents and abilities that can be put to use for personal enhancement and the good of society. It is often a temptation to think, “I can’t do something-or-other,” when, in fact, one really could if determination pushed one to develop that something.

I almost did not go to seminary because a requirement was to learn Greek. A friend caused a reassessment by noting that little Greek babies learn it every day of the week. Shaquem could have thought that missing a hand meant a football career was out of the question. Instead, he decided that this is what he wanted to do. And did it. There’s even a chance he might play in the NFL . . . like his twin brother, Shaquill, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks.

The disability that most often limits what we do is our brain. It can be overcome. Ask Shaquem.

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