Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable
3 months ago Jack Hoffman Comments Off on Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable
Two Writers Meet
One of the nation’s best, most outspoken sports columnists, Bill Plaschke gets a ton of e-mail. But Sarah’s stood out. In it, she blasted him for a recent column on the Dodgers, vehemently disagreeing with some of his points. “This person was extremely passionate, yet very informed about the Dodgers and I rarely get both. It was one of the best e-mails I’d ever received. She knew what she was talking about.”
That began a correspondence that included dozens of emails. Bill learned that Sarah was 31, lived in Texas with her mother, and was a passionate Dodgers fan. Eventually, he told her she should take her knowledge and writing skill and work for her local newspaper. Sarah e-mailed back saying she couldn’t because she was handicapped and had to type with her head. Bill was suspicious. He sent her another email saying that shouldn’t stop her and asked if he could call her so they could talk about it. Sarah e-mailed back, “You can’t call me. I can’t talk.”
Now Bill was sure something was up. “I found it very hard to believe that this terrific writer was tapping away one key at a time, unable to use her hands or her voice. I thought she was just hassling me.” He had no way of knowing that she had to use a head pointer to type on a computer that would read back her work to her.What would take an average person one hour to type, took Sarah five. But Bill was intrigued and willing to investigate further.
So when he was in Texas to cover the Lakers, the cynical journalist went to see Sarah Morris for himself.
“Sarah sent me directions to her house that were two pages long listing every little farmhouse and dirt road along the way. As I turned down her driveway, I saw through the weeds four or five wheelchairs sitting outside the house. I knew this must be the place. Her mom met me at the door and welcomed me in. There was Sarah, this frail little body sitting in a wheelchair with this huge giant smile. I thought, she really does exist.”
For the final proof of her situation, Bill asked Sarah to show him how she typed with her head. “When I saw her type the words that appeared on the screen, I felt sick and ashamed of myself. All this time I didn’t believe her.”
Today, the woman who bleeds Dodger blue is a leading columnist for Dodgers.com and writer for the essay checker service. Her mother, Lois, says that the opportunity to write and learn has changed Sarah. “She’s becoming more independent every day,” she says.
Astounded by Sarah’s talent, knowledge, and sheer determination, Bill wrote a candid, heartfelt column about her in the Times. It not only attracted attention from readers who besieged the Times to hire Sarah, but also caught the eye and heart of Ben Platt, manager of the Dodgers Web site. Further encouragement came when Dinn Mann, editor-in-chief for the parent site MLB, called Platt and suggested that they hire her. Platt made an offer, and Sarah accepted her first paid writing position.
Sarah, speaking through her mother, says, “It’s hard work, but I love it.”
Bill, for one, remains inspired by the young woman who first called him on the carpet for his column. “Sarah Morris symbolizes that part of us all that dares to dream—to embrace life without limitations and to realize everything that’s possible if we have the courage to try.”