We don’t beat death by living long, but we can beat death by living well! 2016 New York State Strength Hall of Fame member Maria Bucchioni embodies this statement. The author uses the present tense of the verb “embodies,” because even though “Mrs. B” has passed on, her legacy continues to drive forward and inspire. Maria Bucchioni was a national champion powerlifter, record setter, pioneer, teacher, friend, mother, and wife. Just as importantly, she was a champion at, and a record setter in, the game of life. The way(s) in which Maria handled the adversity dealt to her is worthy of a king’s, or, in this case a queen’s, highest praise. Champions have a way of doing what is right, even when the situation is blatantly wrong, and no one did this better than her.
All competitive athletes understand the difficulties associated with traveling hours the morning of a meet, weighing in, getting the proper nutrition, acclimating the mind to battle, and so on. It’s hard enough under the best of conditions, but, and the author thinks you’ll agree, Maria had to go way beyond that of the typical. As reported in the Binghamton Press, “On a Friday in December, Maria was told that cancer had spread to her liver and that she would have to have a bone-marrow transplant and…chemotherapy; the next day she traveled to Glens Falls for a meet and won Best Female Lifter!”
There’s more than a noteworthy difference between just being alive and really living. Maria Bucchioni understood that. As the title inherently implies, the New York State Hall of Fame values strength. Most of us, however, never have to consider, at least the way that she did, the different types, variations, and/or categories of this virtue. We all know and understand physical strength, but there are also mental, emotional, and spiritual strengths. She was a master of them all! To accomplish what she did, under the circumstances that she faced, is really quite remarkable. You can not overcome what you refuse to confront. Maria Bucchioni confronted and responded to her challenges with the spirit, determination, courage,honor, and faith of a true warrior! In my mind, Maria Bucchioni never lost a fight to cancer. She carried out her mission as outlined and directed by God, and she did it, dare I say, as near to perfect as can be. She has won, and no disease can defeat the example of how to live well set forth by 2016 Hall of Fame member Maria Bucchioni!
To be considered for the New York State Strength and Power Hall of Fame, contact the selection committee at: