It is late January now, and some of us have already abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. If you need a little nudge to get back on track, however, here’s a positive suggestion: check out Mind Set Go. The second season premieres Wednesday, January 30, on AMI-tv.
The series, expanded to an hour this season and featuring Integrated Described Video for blind or partially sighted viewers, follows a new group of eight Canadians — mainly from the Vancouver area — determined to transform their physical, mental and emotional health over a 90-day period. Helping them achieve their goals are eight Canadian Paralympians who know what it takes to overcome obstacles and achieve lofty personal goals.
The series boasts several mentors who act as big brothers, encouraging the participants to reach new goals. One is Andrew Haley, who engaged in a wheelchair basketball shoot-around last week at a press gathering in downtown Toronto. It’s a tough game; the hoops are just as high as in the NBA and you’ve got to bounce the ball after every two spins of the wheels with your arms to replicate dribbling. Natural athletes such as Haley made it look easy.
The New Brunswick native competed in four Paralympic games, winning four medals in the pool including a gold in the 4 x 100 m relay at the 2000 Sydney Games. This despite surviving two life-threatening bouts of cancer, losing a leg at the age of six.
“I enjoy motivating people,” says Haley, who speaks to groups large and small about overcoming his own obstacles. “Anything I can do to give back in that regard is something I look forward to.”
Haley was paired on Mind Set Go with Jamie. “He is going through some issues in terms of self-awareness, where he was, and he wanted to lose some weight,” says Haley. “He’s making a lot of excuses for himself. There were a lot of arguments at home and tension in the air.” Haley told Jamie that he had to “start taking ownership for his own life.”
Changing behaviour is hard, Haley concedes. “You come out of the gate at Christmas and January and say, ‘I’m gonna work out this year, I’m going to get in the gym. You do it for two weeks and that’s it. The desire has to be there. I’m going to give you motivation. You have to inspire them to make a better life for themselves.
“A lot of us get scared at being pushed to our limits,” Haley adds. “If you can get past that imaginary line and get into an area and better yourself, then you feel so much better. That struggle to overcome is so much sweeter at the end when you really accomplish something great.”
Besides the Paralympians, also participating in Mind Set Go this season are former Amazing Race Canada participants Lowell and Julie Taylor from Lethbridge, Alta. The husband and wife team competed two seasons ago with Lowell becoming the first legally blind participant in any version of the series, with the tightly-knit couple making it all the way to the Vietnam leg of the race.
Supervising producer Sophie Morgadinho says Lowel was perfect for the series, “not only because he has had to overcome a lot in his life and excelled – as you know, he’s trying out for cycling in the Paralympics – but he also is a psychologist, so he knows all about mind set and overcoming things in your life.”
Mind Set Go returns Wednesday night January 30, on AMItv. Go here for a trailer and more information about this inspiring documentary series.