“I was never afraid to do the work,” he said, adding that he was always the first one to show up at practice and the last one to leave. “Because I was blind, I thought I had to be 10 percent better than everyone else. I never wanted people to say, ‘I bet he lost because he was blind.’”
MacFarlane spoke on PRIDE, an acronym he developed that includes the principles of perseverance, respect, individuality, desire and enthusiasm. He illustrated each of the points through examples using sports, extracurricular activities and academics, expressed his sincere disdain for the word “can’t” and told students maintaining a positive attitude is a choice.
”I would trade my 104 medals to have some of the opportunities you do,” MacFarlane told the students in closing, “to be able to have my eyesight.”
It was a message reflected heavily upon by several seniors in the audience, including Brandy Gamblin.
”I like the fact that he didn’t let his blindness bring him back, he used it to bring himself further and used it as motivation,” Gamblin said, adding that she hopes to be similarly motivated as a college student next year.
Brady Barber said he admired the way MacFarlane used blindness to his advantage as much as possible.
”He saw blindness as an ability because he didn’t judge people on their looks,” Barber said. “He did a lot of stuff people with sight wouldn’t do.”
Barber added he plans on applying MacFarlane’s message to his own life.
”I have no excuse not to do anything,” Barber said.