wanted to be a professional athlete" he told them "but I learned pretty early on that this wasn't going to happen. At least, not in the way I thought it would." He went on to explain that, compared to most of his classmates, he was pretty small and relatively short and that because of this, he was always picked last for the team. Not that this stopped him from trying. As he grew up, he went out for everything .... basketball, baseball, you name it, but he rarely made the team. So, instead of giving up, he found another outlet. No coach, he decided, was going to tell him what he couldn’t do. It was his game. And he was making his own rules. In high school, he became a runner. And from there, he never looked back. He ran the Boston Marathon for the first time at age 17. He didn't make it to the finish line that year because his body didn't hold out. He called his grandfather later in the evening to tell him what happened. In so many words he let him know that, sadly, he had failed. His grandfather's response? "You didn’t fail, Dave. You learned. Next time you’ll be more prepared. You only fail if you don’t try." Wow, I thought. This is some powerful stuff. I might need to sit down. He then went on to tell the kids about some of his greatest accomplishments. He has run across the country four times to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, he ran the Boston marathon blindfolded to raise awareness and funds for Carroll Center for the Blind, he ran from Florida to Boston with his good friend who cruised alongside him in his wheelchair, again, to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund. On his 13th birthday, he ran his age in miles. He has done it every year since, running 60 miles last month to celebrate his 60th birthday. Bottom line, if there is something he wants to do, Dave's going to find a way to make it happen. After competing in the Boston Marathon many times, he eventually took on the job of directing it.
“I’d like to make a statement,” he said. “Um, ok." Dave chuckled. "I’ve never gotten that before. Go for it.” So he started in, “In the summer, I go to sports camp. I am the last one picked for the team every time. But, I still try and still do my best because that’s all I can do." You could've heard a pin drop. “Good for you! Let’s give this kid a hand.” We all clapped (some of us might have cried). Dave pointed at him and smiled, "You and me are gonna go for a run together one day. You're great!" The kid beamed. It was a pretty incredible moment for all of us.
Here's to a new year, some new goals, and, perhaps even a new way of approaching life. See you on the flip side!
Listen to this:
Glow - IYES