But as I sit here writing this, I think of our new Sports Mural Mile Ambassador and think how the Creator must have engineered our meeting and ensuing appointment on this ominous day—the opening of the 2008 Olympics. Donald Suxho touched my heart today as we exchanged events of our lives that brought back burning memories of times in history where we witnessed and experienced life differently than it is to us today. Donald spoke of owning a single pair of shoes; of being cold and poor and living under Communism in the most austere of circumstances. We spoke of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo and to me, it was a conversation that brought out a soulful, reminiscent and passionate, compassionate inner being of a tall young handsome man whose heart is there on the TV behind me. Because of an injury, his star became a falling star and prevented him from being among that Parade of Nations, or the fierce competition of athletics that were designed to INSPIRE and MOTIVATE young people to be in the best possible physical and spiritual state they could in order to leave a legacy and pass that on to the next 10 generations and beyond.
So there he sat in our meeting today; lamenting and feeling and sharing his personal disappointment. I looked into his intense eyes and at his deep smile and could feel his wounded heart as he spoke with tinged sadness and thought about the meaning and the purpose of our meeting on this very day. Destiny had a hand in all of this and in my heart I sensed there was a specific reason why this accomplished athlete and rising star was sitting here in Cafe 101 in Oceanside, California.
Throughout the afternoon and in my conversation with Fouad by phone later, I told him how I had felt a great stirring inside. I knew that the Art Miles, though waiting for what seems like a very long time, had found our Sports Mile Ambassador. I knew that what Donald experienced as a small boy, and then a young man in the US, and later as a revered athlete left a visible and invisible imprint in his heart. I could see and hear and feel that he carries with him, and his dreams for his son, the ideals the Olympiad represents. This strong character burns brightly in his heart in a way that can only be felt by someone who has run a race, placed his heart and soul into winning the gold, but whose injury kept him from the getting to that magic finish line.
But we all know, that real life does these things. Challenges are thrown in our paths and some of us are able to pick up the torch and move forward. Others of us find a different path that gets us to the finish line in a different way, and for some, like Donald and our team, adventures are made along the way that might have otherwise been only blurs of images in our life marathon. To feel, to understand, to reach out, to share, is a totally different Olympiad. It is the Olympics that make a difference and even though the gold medals may be few and far between, or not there at all, the gold nuggets, and silver miles of smiles of helping others along the way, will bring out the real Olympic champion for those like Donald. After all, the intention of the Olympics was to bring out the best in people and bring them together. And for me, and the rest of Art Miles Team, Donald, there sitting at home thinking about what evades him, is about to win the real Olympic gold when he shows millions of people that creating global harmony takes a Real Olympian to make it happen. A warm welcome Donald!
Donald Suxho is the Art Miles Mural Project's Sports Mile Mural Ambassador. His role like everyone else on our team is to travel the road that will bring us to the Art Miles Mural Pyramid together. Donald was introduced to us through a great friend of his, Adam Rendon who told us about this special athlete that was an established and rising star with the US Olympic Volleyball Team but due to an injury was unable to participate. Donald was born in Albania and is a young man of wonderful compassion and integrity and believes that all of us should be helping those less fortunate. He learned this from his parents who taught him how to appreciate everything because as we know, most people in the world are not so fortunate. Donald believes in this and works to prove it and joined our project because he thinks working with youth and sports is a great way to unite people and the sports mile and the arts are a great fit for him. So...he joined Art Miles and within a couple of weeks was suddenly recruited to join the Al Jazira Volleyball Team in Abu Dabai and wouldn't you know, his first training session took him straight to Cairo? DESTINY and a great welcome to a terrific young star who will be an inspiration to our team and people everywhere!