Ben Lecomte plans to swim across the Pacific Ocean, why? because he can.
Imagine just for a moment that you could fly. Where would you go? What would you do with that talent? Imagine if you could swim long distances in rough ocean waters. Where would you travel to? How far could you go?
It’s not often I run into a real life super hero. Fire fighters, police officers, soldiers, these are what I like to call real life super heroes for their service to mankind is without a doubt heroic in every sense of the word. But then there are those that are common everyday people that have super human abilities. They are basically just like you and me but they have a special “something” that not many others possess. They have a talent or skill that to the average “joe” would seem impossible whereas these “super heroes” make it look effortless.
I was recently introduced through a good friend, Lumbie Mlambo, editor-in-chief of Equanimity Magazine who after learning more about him I deemed my new super hero. He doesn’t wear a cape or tights, he doesn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound or run faster than a locomotive. No, my new super hero, Ben Lecomte wears a wetsuit and swims. Ben Lecomte swims and doesn’t stop, well, maybe after 8 hours or so, then he takes a break, then he swims again and again and again.
You see Ben is a long distance swimmer who swam across the Atlantic Ocean in 1998. Yes I am serious and yes he did. From Cape Cod to France he swam for over 70 days, tackling rough waves, jellyfish attacks that would cling to his snorkel stinging him over and over again, sharks that would loom in the distance and one that followed him for days, yet Ben persevered. Ben kept swimming. Ben would swim for hours then get inside the boat that was tagging alongside of him for a rest, then Ben would get back in the water for another round. He repeated this over and over and over again over a period of 2 months. Even after being stung by jellyfish. Even with the threat of sharks circling the boat. Ben didn’t care. You see, Ben is a super hero.
Ben lost his father in 1991 to cancer. So in an effort to honor his father’s memory the one thing Ben knew he could do and do well to show his affection for his father was to dedicate his swim across the Atlantic Ocean to him. In the process Ben also raised money to benefit the ongoing effort towards finding a cure for cancer. During Ben’s journey he wanted to emulate in his own way the endurance, the motivation, the positive mental attitude one needs to have while fighting the deadly disease. Of course since Ben did not have the disease himself, this was his only way to put his own body through its own challenge.
To me, that is a super hero; someone that does something unselfishly, unasked, to help benefit others in some way. Even if it means enduring pain or suffering. To me, that’s Benoit Lecomte.
Now, it will be 14 years since his Atlantic Ocean swim when he takes on the Pacific Ocean. He is going to be dedicating the swim again to the loving memory of his father as well as all the millions of people around the world that are fighting their own battles, everyone in America and around the world for that matter are struggling and Ben sees this new journey of his a way to give back and support and swim in the honor of others that are trying to get through the rough waters of their lives. If he can touch one life or millions to inspire them to never give up then he will feel he has been able to help others. Ben will reach a heck of a lot more than one person, he already has.
Benoit Lecomte, the Frenchman turned Texan is my new super hero. He is taking on something bigger than himself. He is taking on a body of water that has its unpredictable currents and swells, sea life that may or may not welcome him into their community. Some say he is crazy. Some say he is past his prime. Some say “Why again, isn’t once good enough?” His doctors say he is in peak physical shape. Some people don’t think he can do it. I think it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The beautiful thing about this is the only one that truly knows that is Ben himself. Even if he can’t, the fact that he is putting himself out there and challenging himself on such an enormous level is heroic, inspiring, motivational, INCREDIBLE.
Ben makes me want to be a better person. To strive for my absolute best in all areas of my life. Ben makes me look at my life and say “Hmmm, what can I do to make the world a better place?”
Yes indeed, what Ben’s doing is much greater than himself, and he may or may not realize this but he is already changing the way people think and effecting others lives and he hasn’t even gotten back in the boat yet.
Thank you Ben for being my new super hero.