On December 29th last year, F1 racing legend Michael Schumacher was skiing off-piste in France when he fell and hit his head. Despite wearing a helmet, Schumacher suffered traumatic brain injury and remains in an induced coma today. There is so far no evidence to show that he was skiing dangerously. Today’s blog post and in particular its headline is not to make light of Michael Schumacher’s accident but to highlight the positive role model he has become to many throughout his racing career.
Growing up, my brother was a huge fan of Schumacher so I have always known him to be a real legend. According to the official Formula One website, he is “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen”. I started to dig around and learnt that Schumacher’s is a real rags- to- riches story. Starting out with pedal kart racing at the age of six, his father had to take a second job to support his son’s racing. By the time Michael was in his early teens, he had won both the German and European Junior Kart Championships. Though his racing was not without incident and some controversy, he went onto become an F1 driver, and was soon making history and breaking records with his driving achievements.
I heard the news of Schumacher’s skiing accident while I was sat at home, on my couch, probably eating mince pies or chocolate- it was the Christmas holiday period after all. And it really struck me: to spend his holidays eating his body weight in chocolate like the rest of us just wouldn’t cut it. Like so many sports personalities and generally active people, Michael Schumacher spent his holidays on the slopes. (Its just a shame that it took a tragic accident to make me notice him.)
As celebrity status has recently become so devalued, with reality TV shows like the Kardashians or Big Brother making people famous for simply being on TV and nothing more, its refreshing to look to the spotlight and see someone who has built his life on hard work and dedication.
And with January being a time of soul searching and planning for the year ahead, I can’t help but feel inspired by Schumacher’s more healthy, positive example. I’m not going to jump on a plane and go skiing, but I have started making some changes to my routine- like getting to that pilates class, walking instead of driving to places. And with my career, I feel encouraged to step out a bit more and take chances, be more decisive. And its nice to have the example of someone else who’s been there to focus on as I make my way through 2014- that’s what role models are for after all.
So yes, I can honestly say I want to be more like Michael Schumacher. And in the meantime I wish him a speedy recovery and wish his family well during this difficult time. I’m sure they will be comforted to know that his life’s work and example has made a positive impact- and will be part of his lasting legacy.
Who inspires you? Can you identify a celebrity or someone else in the public eye who has really made you think about making positive changes in your life?