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Growing up, Dominican native Manuel de los Santos had one dream: to play professional baseball. Once on route to pitch for the MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays, Manuel’s plans were derailed in 2003 by a traffic accident that handicapped him to a point that professional baseball would no longer be an option. Disheartened by the unforeseen and unfortunate circumstance, Manuel found inspiration and passion in an unexpected place and his story from that point onward is more than inspiring.

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Life can certainly be unpredictable. Although we can never really control that, we can however control our response to the unpredictable, the challenging, the life-altering and everything else we may be faced with at any given moment. Manuel de los Santos is a living example of that, showing us that just because one door closes does not mean that all others will never open.

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In my opinion, no matter how life-altering, emotional or crippling an experience may be, it is our minds reaction to it that is often the most damaging. Rather than accepting the reality for what it is and choosing to move forward, the mind always seems a lot more inclined to bask in the sorrow of what was. I’m not suggesting that moving on from an unexpected experience is an immediate thing we should all be capable of, but I am suggesting that we are the only thing that can pull ourselves out of it.

Even though we may forever be left with the physical impairment or the emotional scar, they do not need to close us off from experiencing joy, love and passion in a number of other things moving forward. Manuel’s ability to find that passion in golf, a sport he never imagined himself playing, is a heartwarming reminder that there  is always a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just up to us to find it.

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