Four blog entries back we posted a great set of pictures of Newport News, Va., Real Deal Brazil fan Glenn Woodell indulging his passion for windsurfing off North Carolina’s Outer Banks … all the while wearing his Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat!
We thought that was plenty cool enough, what with Glenn skimming fast across the waters of the Pamlico Sound with our hat somehow staying perched atop his head, even without the benefit of our Real Deal Brazil Hat Hitch Wind Strap (sadly, Glenn did later lose his original RDB to the salty depths). And the dude wears that tarp hat well! He’s got that whole rugged-individualist thing going hard.
But then we got a note from Amber Malish-Sconyers, the photographer who shot Glenn’s windsurfing pictures, one of which appears again above, and we suddenly realized we had no idea just how cool …
Amber sent us four additional photos of Glenn windsurfing off Hatteras Island (those new pics follow the text here). Seeing them was a bit of a shock after viewing the first set – because in the new set, Glenn is missing a leg.
But that can’t be right! Glenn’s got two legs in the pictures we posted earlier!
Actually, come to think of it, you don’t see his lower legs at all in the original photos. But surely he’s got two legs, right? The guy’s windsurfing, after all. That takes balance and coordination and grace and all that stuff that most of us like to pretend we’ve got in droves, but then, there’s actually a reason most of us didn’t grow up to be Olympic gymnasts, or become the pro partners on Dancing With the Stars …
In the new set of pictures, you obviously do see Glenn’s legs. Or rather, you see his one leg. In place of where you readily expect the other one to be is a prosthetic, and a very space-agey one, at that.
Glenn, it turns out, is an above-the-knee amputee. He lost the lower part of his right leg in a car accident back in his 20s.
After several e-mail conversations with Glenn since, we figured out that he didn’t include any pictures that show the prosthetic in part because he intended the photos to be about our Real Deal Brazil hat, and not about him. We’re obviously very flattered by that.
Because yes, including shots with the prosthetic kind of asks people to focus on the prosthetic instead, the upshot being that many of those same folks (including, we confess, us here at the Real Deal Brazil) then find themselves tempted to regard Glenn’s accomplishments on the board as somehow larger than life.
Glenn does, after all, make something that most of us couldn’t do on two legs look ridiculously easy, and he’s only working with half as many full limbs!
This is the same guy who also enjoys drag racing and roller-skating, for Pete’s sake. Not to mention that he volunteers as an EMT with his local hospital, and takes the time to visit soon-to-be amputees to offer positive insight into living with a prosthetic device.
So it really is easy to think of this guy as being pretty extraordinary, y’know?
But don’t, he says.
“I am Glenn who just happens to have five less toes than most people,” he explains, “rather than Super Glenn who overcomes all obstacles.”
OK, so let’s go with this, then: Glenn is a guy who’s actively chosen to turn an adversity into both a challenge and an opportunity, something the rest of us can no doubt draw inspiration from. And in this mad, often inhospitable rush called modern life, inspiration is routinely in woefully short supply.
Which is to say that while we at the Real Deal Brazil are normally more than willing to give all credit for coolness to our uncommon hats, the fact remains that Glenn probably deserves at least a few of those props himself!
Thanks for making our great hat look even better, amigo.