Cerebal Palsy isn’t stopping this bodybuilder’s dream of competing.
Arnett E. Washington, II, 43, husband and father of three, learned from an early age that he would be challenged differently. He has dealt with cerebral palsy since he can remember, and has had a driver’s license since 1999. Now deep into training for two bodubuilding contests, in newsobserver, Washington credited his mother as his strongest guiding influence.
“My mother was a hard lady, and she always told me not to let people feel sorry for me. She pushed me. A lot of people in the world said I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do, but not my mama,” he said. “She was the sergeant. And I ended up going to college, getting a degree, getting a job, having children. I can do almost anything I want to.”
Arnett’s son Hezekiah, uses his father’s perseverance for inspiration.
“My whole life, I’ve seen what my father has had to go through, and how he’s done it, and it just makes me want to work harder. He’s always told me that you have to go get it yourself; nobody’s going to do it for you. That’s how he’s done it.”
Arnett seeks to set an example for his three children, Hezekiah, 16, Arnett III, 11, and Paris, 8.
“My kids are very important to me, and it’s also important to me that I am a good model to my kids,” he said, standing with Hezekiah in the high school weight room. They train together whenever possible, though it’s difficult to make time during football season.
“I don’t want my kids to have to worry about anything; I want them to know how to take care of themselves, and to do what needs to be done, like I do. They’re going to know how to go out and get what they need, just like I did.”
Washington didn’t get into weight training until last year and has embraced the new challenge. The training was occasional at first but has amped up his workouts building a competition ready physique
“He’s not just doing this to do it; he’s into it, and he works hard at it,” his wife said. “This is serious stuff, too. He’s working hard at it. He’s putting a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it, and he wants to do it right. That’s just how he is.”
Washington recently earned his amateur bodybuilding card, and he hopes to use some upcoming contests to work his way toward a pro slot. He plans to enter the OCB Heartland Classic bodybuilding competition on Nov. 4 in Belleville.
“Bodybuilding is good for me, and it feels good,” Washington said. “But it’s also a way for me to show everybody: ‘See what I can do. There’s nothing holding you back, either.'”
He also plans to compete in a Nov. 16, contest in DeKalb. In both events, he will compete in the over-40 class of novice competitors in the men’s physique division.
Washington’s attitude is inspiringly candid:
“I’ve been this way my whole life, so what you call normal, it isn’t my normal. This is me.”
What do you think of Arnette Washington, II battling the odds?