Blindness, Inspiration, And Randy Pierce

by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist

For those who need an occasional dose of inspiration, there are plenty places to look—to include the sports world. And within the sports world, there are few better sources of inspiration than Randy Pierce.
Randy is blind.
The blindness came about suddenly when Randy was 22, and it naturally devastated the active and athletic young man—a UNH graduate and hardware design engineer. For a while, he just stayed in his room, where he could find his way around—angry and bitter. But eventually he himself was inspired to action, as he tried to make sense of his situation and become an active and contributing citizen.
According to his website, Randy found ways to enjoy football, basketball, baseball, and even darts. His advancement in karate through his second-degree black belt helped him improve focus and orientation. It helped him overcome the challenges associated with blindness. His passion for the New England Patriots resulted in his being named “2001 Fan of the Year.” In 2002 was inducted as a fan into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Inspiring, yes?

Randy Pierce making one of his many mountain ascents.
Randy Pierce and Mike Moffett at the “Future in Sight” building in Concord.

In 2012, Randy climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000 peaks in a single winter season—winter offering fewer challenges in terms of footing. But later he accomplished summer ascensions as well. He climbed Africa’s highest peak—Mt. Kilimanjaro. Then he completed the Boston Marathon.
The list of Randy’s accomplishments goes on and on.
I met Randy when paying a visit to “Future in Sight” in Concord—formerly The New Hampshire Association for the Blind. I learned how Randy channeled his energy not only into sports but also activism—through an organization called 2020 Vision Quest. But there is authorship in addition to athleticism and activism. Randy’s been working on a book, which he hopes to have ready for the 9th Annual Peak Potential Dinner at Nashua’s Courtyard by Marriott on November 17.
Inspiring.
Also inspiring are so many other initiatives sponsored by “Future in Sight,” to include a baseball game featuring the sight-impaired against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, utilizing a beeping baseball. And the sight-impaired triumphed, in what became a national story.
So if or when you ever need some perspective, some context, or some hope, just go to Randy’s web site, or that of “Future in Sight.”
You’ll find all the inspiration you need.

Sports Quiz
Who successfully pitched for the Washington Senators in 1945 against the Boston Red Sox despite having an artificial leg? (Answer follows)

Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on Oct. 4 include MLB manager Tony LaRussa (1944) and former NBA star A. C. Green (1963).

Sports Quote
“Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, then you’re needed.” -Martina Navratilova

Sports Quiz Answer
Bert Shepard had his right leg amputated after his fighter plane was shot down in Germany during World War II. In 5 innings of impressive relief against the BoSox, he allowed only three hits and one run. He struck out his first batter.

State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net