Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Last week, our family visited Sea World. Friends of ours had gone the week before and warned us about the hot weather and the crowds. They were correct.

Our Sea World visit began with the Sky Tower, which took us on a 400-foot-high ride over the park for a bird’s-eye view. As the ride rotated slowly, vistas of Sea World and much of Orlando appeared. My husband, Jimmy, forgot that he was not a fan of heights until we were about 200 feet up. My, were his eyes big.

Next, we walked over to Shamu’s Happy Harbor for the ‘Believe’ show, which proved to be amazing. The combination of black-and-white video (indicating times past) and music told the story of a boy intrigued with killer whales. In an early scene, he carved a piece of wood into the shape of a whale tail, which he then put on his necklace. Next, he was on a beach, where he spotted a killer whale in the ocean. Running to a canoe, he paddled out towards the whale, which jumped into the air as he stared in amazement.

The story then cut to today: a man wearing the same necklace is standing at the top of the bridge in a wetsuit ready to swim with the killer whales. In this story, the boy has realized his dream of doing just that.

‘Believe’ is about believing in dreams and having them come true.

One of the trainers, Laura Surovik, highlighted on the Shamu Web site, says, “The motivation to produce ‘Believe’ was driven by our daily mission to achieve the impossible, …We want to inspire that same passion in our guests.”

What a great mission, I wish them success. Many of the guests we saw might fare better if they were inspired not so much with a passion to achieve the impossible, but with a passion to exercise.

There was a distinct contrast between the trainers’ physical fitness and that of the spectators. The trainers, wearing wetsuits, are in great shape, running from side to side of the large tank during the show, diving and swimming in the tank and running up the stairs.

In comparison, the people who filled the stands appeared to be a representative sample of America, where two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese.

As we all know, becoming overweight or obese is due to an energy imbalance – more calories are consumed than expended, so diet as well as activity are important. It is a constant struggle for many, myself included.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.