The saying imitation is the most sincere form of flattery may not always apply. However, in some cases, imitation may be an act that is far more inspirational and important.
McKayla Maroney's unimpressed look during the 2012 London Olympics has become one of the most famous sports snapshots in recent memory. Leslie Barrett took an opportunity to use the image as inspiration while dealing with an illness.
Barrett was diagnosed with Bell Palsy in August. It is a disease that has temporarily distorted and paralyzed her face. According to Barrett, who spoke to Laura E. Davis of The Los Angeles Times, she was told she resembled Maroney in the infamous picture, and that gave her the idea for a Halloween costume.
As you can see from the image above, she took the thought and ran with it.
Barrett wrote a heartfelt, yet inspiring story about her condition in The Trinitonian. It is entitled "Would You Still Be My Friend?" Barrett has shown resolve that even the toughest athlete would admire considering the circumstances.
On Facebook, she wrote this message to Maroney: "It was the first time in months I got to look like I was intentionally making a face and it has helped me deal with the slow recovery a little better."
There are many physical hardships people can conceal with enough effort, but it is nearly impossible to hide an impediment that distorts a person's face. Instead of going into a shell or wallowing in her unfortunate situation, Barrett is meeting her challenge head on and with a light heart.
Her ability to make fun of the effects of her illness is pretty amazing. Especially considering it would be an inappropriate joke for anyone except the inflicted.
Maroney was such a good sport to share the photo and the story. If Barrett can find the humor in this story, anyone can.