Motivational Mondays

By Dave Denniston

CARLSBAD, Calif., November 7. MONDAYS are notorious for being awful. Most of us are coming off of the high of a football victory, or still stewing over the loss. Many of us just left the swimming pool last night at 9 o’clock cleaning up after the meet that was supposed to be done at 7:00 but didn’t finish until 8:30. Thus, Monday and the four days behind it are staring us in the face, taunting us, encouraging us to drink more coffee and put off actual work for another half an hour.

Chances are you are doing just that, whether a swimmer, a coach, or just a fan of swimming; you are reading this because it isn’t actual work.

Well, I for one, love Mondays, because it is the first day of the week that I get to try and make my legs work again. For those of you who don’t know, I was paralyzed in a sledding accident on Super Bowl Sunday 2005. The accident was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. While I can’t use my legs, hitting the tree at 35 mph knocked something lose and turned my attitude from one of destitute to complete optimism.

Monday is the first day of the week that I get to go to Project Walk to find new neurological pathways that make my legs move. For me, Mondays are exciting, because that is when I see the most progress made with my body. Monday is the only day of the week that the Centaur that lives above me can stomp around and wake me up at 5 am without me calling the glue factory. On Mondays, I feel like I become more of whole person.

My only frustration lies in knowing that if I had the attitude I have now when I was training and racing competitively, my chances would have been significantly better to make the Olympic Team. So my hope is to somehow transfer some of my new found attitude to you on Monday mornings.

I realize that this is a swimming based website, but swimmers, coaches, athletic directors and Michael Phelps fans are all people too. As people, sometimes we all need a refreshing look at what we have been given and what can be taken away.

That is my goal with this weekly column: To pass along a positive message for your Monday. I want to start it off right. With the exception of this article, most will NOT be about me and my progress to walk again. (If you want to read that, I post in my journal everyday at

I have met and continue to meet so many amazing people that inspire me to do impossible things, both as a swimmer and as a human being. I intend to write about swimmers, some famous and some not-so-famous. I also intend to write about the people I see on a daily basis battling their own obstacles. Many of the people I write about will be connected to the swimming world in some shape or form. And when I make significant progress, I will write about myself.

Time to get these legs movin…

Dave Denniston