The Lee Side: Can’t never could

Quit is a verb with prolific connotations both positive and negative.

Posted on 9/7/13

By Lee Coleman

A person can quit smoking and jubilation will ensue. A person can quit a terrible job and be satisfied.

An athlete can quit on his team and shame-on-you’s will ensue. An athlete quits on themselves, well, inherent shame could prevail.

It would be a stretch to find a person who hasn’t thought of quitting something they might regret at least once in their lives.

Likewise, stories of not quitting could be boundless.

Perhaps the story of marathon swimmer Diane Nyad has now set the bar for courage and determination despite any obstacles.

Last Monday, Nyad, 64, became the first person to ever swim from Havanna, Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

“Find a way’ seemed to be the mantra of Nyad who negotiated the Florida Straits in about 53 hours and some 110 miles.

This wasn’t the first rodeo for Nyad. She had attempted the swim five times since 1978 including four tries since she turned 60.

She said last weekend’s attempt would be her last no matter the outcome.

Fighting rough seas and vomiting from ingesting salt water, Nyad fought through the pain and anguish to make history for the second time.

Previously, she became the first women ever to swim around Manhattan, NY.

“It’s all authentic. It’s a great story. You have a dream 35 years ago-doesn’t come to fruition, but you move on with life. But it is somewhere back there. Then you turn 60, and your mom just dies, and you’re looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination.” said Nyad as reported by CNN. “One, you should never, ever give up. Two, you are never too old to chase your dreams and three, it looks like a solitary sport but it’s a team.”

Nyad had a team of 35 including those who cleared her swimming path of jellyfish and their painful stings, those who swam with her and kept a keen eye out for sharks and those who supported above water, including feeding her soup and water through a tube and the protective mask she worn to combat jellyfish.

Her swim not only captivated the world, her swim served as the epitome of the phrase ‘fight and determination’.

In a sports world that has found its self short of professional role models, Nyad exemplifies what a true role model is all about.

Would it have been easy to quit when things got rough for her during the swim? Perhaps.

Would quitting have been an option? Not on this day.

Not in the heart and soul of the warrior known as Diane Nyad.

After all, she just found a way.

Coleman is the editor of the Republican and can be contacted at

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