Since I’d rather read or write than watch TV, I’ve never been a big TV watcher. But if I did arrange my schedule around network television, I would watch Dancing with the Stars because I love the artistry in dance. (I once took a ballroom dance class with my husband; it didn’t go well!)
And if I’d known I’d see Noah Galloway on season 20 (in 2015), I would definitely have watched.
You may have heard of Noah. He was an Army infantry soldier injured in a bomb blast in Iraq. He lost his left leg and arm.
As Noah says several times in his book, LIVING WITH NO EXCUSES, his life is no Hollywood movie. And though there were times I wanted more from Noah—a deeper exploration of what he was going through each step of the way—I have to hand it to him for telling it like it was.
He did things that weren’t the smartest: snuck out of Walter Reed on the weekends, signed papers that weren’t accurate, drove drunk, ignored the consequences of driving drunk (for which he spent 10 days in the county jail). At one point he was told he has ADD but he refused to address it.
Along the way, he became a father for the 2nd and 3rd time (his first, born premature, nearly died). He lost his way and sank into alcohol and depression. He struggled in his marriage (and his subsequent relationship with his girlfriend, Jamie).
In his book he also talks about fatherhood. In the early parts of the book, I think he believed it was his most important job, but he didn’t always act like it. I can relate; it took me some time to really embrace motherhood. But we both figured it out; he now makes all his decisions with his children in mind.
Luckily he had people who believed in him. And eventually he started respecting himself again too. He got fit and started running marathons. That lead to an opportunity to be on the cover of Men’s Health magazine. And that’s when Dancing with the Stars took notice.
He struck me as confident in himself (how could he not be to go on national television?) but not ostentatious. When he says yes to something, he’s all in (sometimes to the detriment of his relationships). He has a powerful drive to inspire others, and he has said that the reason he went on DWTS was for exposure. (He almost turned it down.)
For my part, I’m thinking: how can you NOT be inspired to see someone missing limbs, who claims he couldn’t dance even when he was fully bodied, go all the way to #3 on Dancing with the Stars?
Credit should also be given to his dance partner, Sharna Burgess, for great choreography that took advantage of Noah’s strengths. It wasn’t just his dance moves, though. Or the fact that he was an amputee. I’m convinced it was his genuine smile and his approachable attitude. Each dance, he looked like he was enjoying himself (although in his book he admits that he “was hurting” physically). You can see a video of all his DWTS dances below.
I’m not sure if Noah ever considered that his inspirational story could also inspire a fiction romance writer… but it does. And I’ll be watching to see what he does next.
All of Noah’s dances on Dancing with the Stars: