The 100 Percent Blog

The Swimming Meet

October 8, 2014

"There are two important days in a man’s life: the day he is born and the day he finds out why."  -   - Mark Twain
The title pretty much tells the story, but the process of getting to the swim meet is interesting. First off, we signed Matthew up for swimming lessons because we were not sure he could swim very well. We recently moved into a house that has a pool, so we thought it would be a good idea to make sure everyone in the house could swim. Yes, we have officially mastered the obvious.
We found a swimming program offered through a local organization called Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA). They hire graduate students in physical therapy to teach the swim classes. The instructors are all amazing and are trained to work with the special needs population. Off we go to our first lesson and it goes very well. In fact, it goes much better than we could have dreamed. Matthew even swam several laps in the pool unaided (I started to think about ways to get my money back.) My wife mentions something about no refunds, so we head off to the second lesson. Matthew is now swimming multiple laps in the pool without any assistance. The instructors are now wondering why we signed up for this basic class. Once again, I have underestimated Matthew.
This is where it gets interesting. The head of DASA mentions they have a swim team and that she thinks Matthew should join the team. After two lessons, he gets promoted! This is still a little surreal but exciting.
We take Matthew to the first team practice. Now keep in mind that he can swim but his technique is- how do I say it politely-you won’t confuse Matthew with Michael Phelps in the pool. He effectively thrashes his way through the water though. The instructors work with him to improve his form but everyone (including his dad) is amazed at his endurance. He swims 40 laps in the pool and gets out without being the least bit out of breath. We seem to have a long distance swimmer in the family now.
With some trepidation, we sign Matthew up for his first swim meet. He will be swimming against other high school juniors and seniors in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events. While Matthew’s form continues to improve, he still has a lot of work to do on his technique. He has not quite mastered the race dive yet either. He jumps into the water cannonball-style. Fun, but not the best way to start a race.
The 50 meter race is first. Matthew puts on his DASA swim cap and prepares to compete in the first heat. He lines up against eight very athletic, muscular young men on the starting block. Even as an unobjective dad, this does not seem like a fair fight. (I guess the opposite of objective would be biased but that sounds a little negative. Unobjective apparently isn’t a word)
The race begins and everyone (but Matthew) dives into the pool. He eventually cannonballs into the pool but he is already well behind. He swims faster than I imagined possible but it’s clear he’ll finish last by a wide margin. Then something strange happens; Matthew is the only swimmer not finished yet and everyone stands up and starts applauding. I thought someone had broken a record or something but it becomes clear that everyone is clapping for Matthew. Given Matthew’s hearing impairment, he didn’t speed up or even realize it. His dad was close to tears. I was told later that it is a swimming tradition to clap for all of the DASA athletes. I have to say that is one great tradition. I think our society could learn a lot from these swimming meets.
Applauding and celebrating everyone’s achievements is something we should all aspire to. I know I do and I know that is what 100 PERCENT Wine is all about too.
Here is to celebrating your achievements!

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King

January 26, 2015

A happy belated birthday to Dr. Martin Luther King, a truly great American. I was reminded recently about Dr. King's final sermon which was delivered in Memphis. As part of his Poor People's Campaign, Dr. King traveled to Memphis to support local sanitation workers in their drive for safer working conditions and higher wages. Dr. King's sermon focused on a story from the Bible about what we commonly refer to now as a Good Samaritan. The story is about what three people (each traveling separately) who all encounter a man in need during their travels. The first two men continue on their journey and refuse to offer aid. The third traveler is from Samaria and stops to help the man. This good Samaritan not only transports the man (at great personal sacrifice) to safety but pays for the care he needs.

Dr. King talked about this story in his sermon and discussed the differences between the first two men and the man from Samaria. He said that the first two men asked themselves, "What will happen to me if I help this man?" They would be delayed significantly and potentially shamed for helping this stranger. The man from Samaria looked at the situation and asked a much different question. He asked, "What will happen to me if I don't help this man?" The answer is clear when the question is framed in that manner.

Even almost 50 years after his death, Dr. King's sermon still teaches us a timeless lesson:

The only path to happiness is through the service to others.

As always, thank you from 100 Percent.

Cheers,

Join Us On the 100 Percent Adventure

November 10, 2014

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to behonorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that youhave lived and lived well. John Wesley
I have to be honest. This is my second blog post and it is super intimidating looking at all of this white space while hoping someone besides my mom reads it. This is also well outside of my comfort zone since I am a pretty private person. 100 Percent will bring not only me, but my whole family into public in a meaningful way if we accomplish what I hope to. Then again, I don't know how I could live with myself if I didn't try. So here goes......
I think a big part of the problem is secrets. Very few want to say that they have a disability. Very few parents want to admit that their child has a disability. Very few want to hire people living with disabilities. Because of this, people are ashamed and pushed off in a corner of society. Well, that has to change. There need to be no more secrets and absolutely no more shame because we are better than that. I look at how far we have come as a society and I really believe that it is time to have this conversation. Time to ask questions. Time to value all people equally. Time to stop talking about change and actually do something, anything. We have too much at stake, too many things to fix.
Wow, that was pretty heavy stuff, so I hope you are still with me. My perspective on this is as a parent. Like all parents, I only wanted the best for my children. I want them to have it better than I had and more choices. I want them to live in a better world. But more than anything else, I just want my children to be happy. I think the mistake I’ve made is assuming my definition of happiness will be the same for my children. Matthew defines happiness in a much different way. Tolerance. Complete joy in the moment. Always smiling. Finding the best in others. I have a lot to learn about happiness. Still, I see the way some people react to Matthew and I have to be honest, it both pains and angers me. Intellectually, I understand that the reactions are mostly out of ignorance and their own discomfort. It is interesting that only a minority of people have ever really tried to understand or ask questions. I guess most people are afraid of offending me but I think it is actually just the opposite. Not asking questions is harder to take for me at least. I ask questions about people all of the time with the hopes of better understanding. I guess I wish that was the case with my son. It does happen but not often.
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The First 100 Percent Blog

October 8, 2014

"Do all of the good you can
By all of the means you can
In all of the ways you can
In all of the places you can
At all of the times you can
To all of the people you can
As long as you ever can."  -   John Wesley

Welcome to the 100 Percent Wine first ever blog post. This is Scott, the Founder and Father of both 100 Wine and the 100 Percent Wine Project. I will use this blog to post thoughts, ideas and stories. I hope that everything we do inspires you. I also hope that you will share your stories with us too. I want to show everyone what people living with disabilities (PLWD) can accomplish and celebrate these stories and these people. We have an amazing opportunity in front of us. So, while I am a little intimidated by the size of this big blank screen in front of me, it is time to get to work!

I picked this quote from John Wesley to start our first ever blog post because I think it capture the mission of 100 Percent perfectly. Our core mission is to help PLWD lead more fulfilled lives. As you may already read, this mission is deeply personal to me because I am the dad of a young man with special needs. At its core, my objective is to break down stereotypes of disability and tell stories that will inspire all of us to think differently.

One of the questions I get asked frequently is why did you start 100 Percent? The other question I get asked frequently is can I have free wine? Surprisingly, I think the first question is easier to answer than the second. 100 Percent allows me to combine two things that I love, which I did not think was possible. The first is my love for my son, Matthew. Ironically, the name Matthew means gift from God. That is certainly true in my case since he has taught me so much. Patience, tolerance and empathy are all so natural for him. I envy that. Like every parent, I want him to grow up in a better world and have more options than I had. The fact that he faces a number of unique challenges that could limit his options makes this a more complicated and time consuming puzzle. Nonetheless, this is a puzzle that I am going to solve, no matter what. That is just what parents do and I am no different. As a result, 100 Percent is truly a labor of love in its deepest and most basic level. I want Matthew to be happy, plain and simple. My second love is the desire for meaningful and fulfilling work. I certainly want that for Matthew but I also want that for the other almost 57 million Americans living with a disability. I cannot imagine more important work.

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