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LMU Hall of Famer Crawford Returns to Give Inspirational Speech

Former Lion Roger Crawford returned to LMU to give an inspirational speech earlier this semester.
Former Lion Roger Crawford returned to LMU to give an inspirational speech earlier this semester.

Dec. 14, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

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LMU student-athletes have been required to attend many speakers over the course of their time at LMU, but none have caught their attention and captured their hearts as much as best-selling author and motivational speaker Roger Crawford. A former Lion himself from 1979-82, Crawford talked about his time at LMU and the impact that being a student-athlete had on him. The LMU Hall of Famer talked about his days of playing tennis at LMU, and his experience with high school athletics before acknowledging what everybody in the audience was drawn to - his arms. His arms do not display five-fingered hands on the end of them, but instead ended just below his forearm and have what represents a thumb and a single finger. Roger smoothly added that he had a prosthetic leg as well, which explained the slight limp he had as he walked from one side of the floor to the other. If he hadn't caught every single one of the athletes' attentions already, he definitely did after that.

Rachel Fell, a junior on the women's soccer team, said that Roger's story was inspiring. "He made me really appreciate what I have," Fell said. Over 250 student-athletes were in attendance, with many staying afterwards to talk with Roger, and ask him further questions about his experiences. He spoke of his accomplishments and skills since graduating from LMU in 1982, but mainly focused on the opportunities provided by education and experiences at LMU that prepared him for his future success.

He related to student-athletes in ways that were encouraging, inspiring, and motivating. Junior women's soccer player, Paige Pennington, said she felt Crawford connected with the audience. "He gave us insight to love everything that we do and enjoy it while we can. No matter the situation, just enjoy life!"

"It was a tremendous honor to come back to a place that has provided so many wonderful memories and experiences that I still draw upon to inspire me," Crawford said. "LMU is a place that has made a profound difference in my life, including the impact of Jamie Sanchez in particular. Jamie has been such an outstanding coach for more than 30 years, and he has truly been a mentor in my life."

Crawford's organization's motto is "Turning the Pessimism of `I Can't' Into the Unstoppable Power of `I Can!'" This man, who has been recognized by Sports Illustrated as "one of the most accomplished physically-challenged athletes in the world," shared his struggles and triumphs as an athlete at LMU, and was received quite well by an audience who could relate to him and fully see where he was coming from.

Crawford said he felt honored to share his message with the student-athletes at LMU because he has had a similar experience to them and knows what an amazing opportunity they have. Throughout his whole speech, after all of the advice and guidance and counsel, his main and final message for the athletes was: "Never let what you cannot do get in the way of what you can do." This message has been put in the hearts of the student-athletes as they realize they can accomplish greatness, if they choose to take advantage of what they have been given, while they are here.

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