Heart Patient to Hockey Stud

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Nine years ago our daughter was still in the hospital and we, first-time parents, were eager to have her home. Within hours of her birth she endured more than any baby– or any adult for that matter–should. In my delirium of child birth and ensuing trauma, I absurdly asked the doctor if she would be capable of sports should she survive. Crazy, I know. But chaos can lead to crazy. I suppose I was gauging her future and ours–were we looking at a lifetime of portable oxygen? Complex medical devices? Endless surgeries?

I learned a crucial fact of parenthood quite quickly: Perspective is a gift.

For days we didn’t know what she actually looked like beneath the various tubes, wires and machines connected to her. If only someone back then could have given me a glimpse of the future– that nine years down the road our little hockey player would be draped not in tubes and wires but in this: a flashy silver medal. And sheer joy.

What a stark contrast to the silver around the necks of the US women’s hockey team. Just minutes ago they “lost” gold and had to accept silver. Heartbreak was written all over their tearful faces. I feel for them. I feel for their mothers. No doubt they gave much over the years– well beyond tying laces and washing stinky gear. Now they have the hardest job yet:  encouraging their girls to feel proud of their accomplishments and to use this disappointment to fuel the fire for four more years.

Absurd dreamers realize great achievements. Maybe our little heart-patient-turned-hockey-stud has reached her peak, or maybe she has just begun. As for me, I’ll keep tying laces and washing stinky gear for as long as she wants.

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Run Away with Me, Lance Armstrong

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Run away with me, Lance!

Ewww– gross. This isn’t a romantic gesture (I’m committed to a guy with bona fide moral integrity). I offer as a friend, because I am guessing you’re short on those right now. Come run with me, and escape who you’ve become. Come run with me and rediscover the athlete you once were– the one who ran, swam and cycled because you had drive, talent and above all passion.

We’ll put on some tunes, perhaps Fun. Some Nights:

Well, some nights I wish that this all would end                                                              Cause I could use some friends for a change                                                                    And some nights, I’m scared you’ll forget me again
Some nights, I always win, I always win…                                                                             What do I stand for?  What do I stand for?  What do I stand for?                                           Most nights I don’t know….

Indeed you won. You cheated death. Then you cheated life. You took that “win at all costs” attitude and you lost everything. But you certainly won’t be forgotten. So, now what do you stand for?

Let’s go for a run and find out. We’ll take in the salty breeze, welcoming the crisp air into our lungs– yours of course once ravaged by disease and yet still stronger than most. We’ll feel the pounding of hearts, yours of course once pushing tainted blood through your veins. We’ll feel the lactic acid releasing into our legs, yours of course having stood several times on a podium of lies.

We’ll run so that you can sweat away all that you once were– a liar, a cheat, a self-proclaimed jerk. But remember, you were also a hero, an idol, a self-proclaimed humanitarian. I believed in you as so many did. Are there any of us left now?

Run from your past and toward your future– the one in which you can be a better competitor, leader, survivor, father, friend, human.

You thrive on defending yourself and proving others wrong. Do it again–rise above and be better. In the words of your former sponsor:

Just Do It.

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