Opinion: One step at a time

Michael Reiner

Michael Reiner



My name is Michael Reiner, but my friends call me Iron Mike. 


My family and friends know that I love sports, WWE, and a good cheeseburger. If you have a recliner close by after I’ve eaten a cheeseburger, it’s game over. 


I live with my wonderful family in my hometown of Wellsville, Ohio. My mom, Paula, is my hero and my biggest inspiration and my dad, Bill, is my biggest fan. Then I have my twin brother Mitchell who is my PlayStation 4 partner, roommate, and best friend. And lastly we have our 6-year-old German shepherd, Bell. She protects our house and makes sure to bark at anyone and everything (by the way, Bell doesn’t like hats of any kind). 


However, as the great Rocky Balboa used to say, “Life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” Mitchell and I were born three months premature. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It is a condition that tightens the muscles in my body. 


I do not let my disability slow me down. In fact, my family and I say that I am differently-abled because I can do everything in different ways. I’ve gone from walkers, to quad canes, to a wheelchair, all the way to forearm crutches. I went through 12 surgeries in 2010 and I’ve been in great shape ever since. Life has definitely been a journey. 


My dream is to one day work in Pittsburgh as a sports writer or broadcaster. My family and I love to go to Pirates and Steelers games. I hope to be successful in Pittsburgh so that I can continue to go to more games and enjoy the atmosphere of “The Steel City.”


I just finished my junior year in the Kent State journalism program. The experiences that I’ve had with Kent State’s television station TV2 and radio station Black Squirrel Radio have been top-notch. I have learned so many things so far that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. 


Now it’s time to put the skills I’ve learned to good use. I start my internship at a local news station on Monday, May 20, and life is very, very exciting at the moment. 


I will have to add 15 minutes to prepare for my commute in the morning. This won’t be for breakfast, I already have time scheduled for that. The extra 15 minutes will be for me to button my shirt, tuck it in, and adjust my belt. These tedious things can be difficult, but they just take me a little bit of time. 


It took one step at a time during track practice for me to compete in the OHSAA State Wheelchair track events. It took one step at a time for me to qualify for the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the eighth grade. And yes, it took one step at a time to be able to walk on my own two feet. 


Everything gets done, one step at a time. 


I believe that other people with disabilities have the same mindset as I do. We all overcome struggles and move forward in our own way. Even though things can get difficult at times, I wouldn’t have my life any other way. 


Michael Reiner is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]