MasterChef is a Real Inspiration
For the record, I hate reality television. I know there are plenty of folks who are hooked on it, but it’s not my thing. However, for those of us with basic broadcast television, during the summer if you don’t want to watch reruns of reruns, you may have little choice.
One night, after I had relinquished control of the TV remote, we ended up watching MasterChef. Although my skills aren’t anywhere near what you’d find on these shows, I do like to cook. It’s not a passing interest. Tom and I have – literally – a bookcase filled with cookbooks. I watched.
I have to admit, when I saw Christine Ha’s familiar red and white cane, the show suddenly got more interesting. You don’t see a lot of people with visible disabilities on television, so I started watching regularly and cheered on Christine from my living room couch. While she initially caught my attention because she was blind, her cooking skills were amazing! Seriously amazing! Although I had to rely on the judges to assess its taste, I found that her food looked great. In fact, I told Tom I wished my plates looked even half as good as what she could dish out.
But as I watched the show, I found myself most impressed by how supportive she was of the other contestants. At one point, when she was working with another contestant, who was basically melting down, Christine just kept being incredibly supportive. She reminded me of how folks in our movement support each other. As people with disabilities, we are under no illusion that we can do everything ourselves. We depend on each other, and know it. I think that makes us – collectively – more supportive of each other. Of course we have jerks too, but on the whole I think this is true. That’s why when an action ends, ADAPTers always recognize EVERYONE who made it happen… from the attendants to the vans drivers. We support each other in being successful and share that success.
On Master Chef, even during the individual interviews that were scattered throughout the show, you could tell that Christine had a “go team” attitude. To make the show more dramatic, I’m sure the producers lead the contestants to squeeze out every last bit of drama. It seemed like they tried to get Christine to give them some competitive trash talk, and she clearly tried to given them some, but that’s apparently something she doesn’t do well. And that’s fine with me!
So in that spirit, last night as Christine and Josh competed, I found myself feeling badly because I was cheering on Christine. Both contestants were top-notch cooks. Both clearly deserved to be finalists. Although they were very different, both were underdogs. I hoped that both could win. Of course I understood that wasn’t going to happen. Still, Christine is a member of the disability community and I loved the idea that she could win.
And when she won, you could see how genuine she was. As she broke out in tears of joy, you could see that she was clearly thrilled. She didn’t take her victory at Josh’s expense. Of course, it IS reality television. I may have some of the details wrong, but without Christine crowing about her personal victory, one the judges commented that all of the contestants were there whom Christine had vanquished. I guess that was one way to say it… but she didn’t. She succeeded by doing her best and bringing the best out in those around her. Christine exemplified that – even in such an intensely competitive environment – you don’t have to take a “You lose/I win” attitude.
Although folks may think of her as an “inspiration” for being the blind woman who won MasterChef, her attitude was the real inspiration in Christine’s well-deserved win!