Yesterday, on the same day the Broncos won their fifth straight game, I completed my third straight half-marathon -- mind you these are once a year events, but I still consider the accomplishment very satisfying. Suffice to say I hated running for my entire life up until a few years ago. I’ve always enjoyed working out, but it had been at a more furious pace previously -- I loved playing basketball for hours, lifting heavy weights, working on fast-explosion, etc.. I turned 39 just before our first son was born. I knew it was time for some changes -- my previously productive small business was a casualty of the floundering economy, I was unemployed (read: bringing in no money) for about six months, and my wife was working part-time in order to prepare for the pregnancy (I was the one who encouraged her to do this, just before my business went in the tank). Also, at 39, I knew that I probably needed to give my body a different type of regular workout as the pounding of the hardwood was having an increased number of ill-effects.
I write this with great joy and satisfaction in my heart -- my wife and I are employed, our two, beautiful little children are healthy and well-fed and the Broncos are winning (again).
Just a week before my son was born, I finally got hired to teach a film class at the Art Institute here in Las Vegas -- it was just one class, but it was something. And I was assured if things went well, I’d get more classes. I would start immediately, with training taking place on the day after we’d meet our son.
One week later, my son was born with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Basically, he had a tear in the diaphragm that separates the lower and upper chest cavity. His intestines had breached the upper left side of his chest, collapsing his lung and pushing his heart to the side. He was given a 50/50 chance to live. I went to training with my son in the NICU, barely hearing and certainly not understanding anything that was going on. Something about insurance, conduct policies and how to design a syllabus. I was scared to ask for time off as jobs were so hard to find.
My son survived his surgery. 17 days later, miraculously, we brought him home (they thought he’d be in there for a minimum of six weeks). Flash forward a few months -- our son is coming along, slowly, surely and with about five doctor/specialist appointments a week. He’s colicky, suffering from some awful eczema and needs a lot of physical therapy, but he’s alive and home. Work is coming along, too. I’ve been given a second class to teach. I know I need to take care of myself physically through this process, too, as if I don’t I won’t have what my family needs from me. The quickest workout to give me what I need (meaning the smallest impact on my family) I can think of is running. As there is a half-marathon a few months down the road, I decide, against all other rational thoughts in my head, that I’m going to train for that. I have found that training with a specific goal in mind leads me to much greater results.
I’ve never run more than a 10k in my life, and that was just once, in high school on a lark. My memory of that was just barely beating the people cleaning the cones off the course to the finish line. I wrote a blog of my training, dedicating the runs to my son, hopefully showing him that anything is possible, especially the things that scare us, if we show up, work hard and are patient enough for the growth process to take place.
I finished that race in just under two hours. A year later I finished about six minutes under that. Yesterday I decided to let go of worrying about time, instead focusing on the larger picture of health and the great number of blessings I have in my life.
This brings me back to the Broncos and the happy parallels I draw to them in my life.
* This is a team that is dedicated to its faith -- mind you, I am not a Christian, nor am I pitching for or against it here. I believe this is about belief, regardless of the path one takes to it. This team clearly believes, as do I.
The change I have had in my ability to enjoy something that previously scared me (running) reminds me of this team, too. They didn’t know what they had in Tebow. They had to break from traditional mindset/beliefs. They have done it slowly and carefully. They have worked hard and, clearly, bought in to who he is and what he can do.
*The pain in the process is to be expected. The loss to the Lions was awful for the Broncos, but they fought through it -- and look at them now! My son has had three more surgeries since his birth, including one very scary one last spring that had him in the hospital for another 16 day stint. But if you met him today, you’d only see a healthy, happy and very rambunctious little boy.
*The greatest good in glory is giving it away. There’s a tremendous pride that comes with accomplishing a goal -- especially one where a significant amount of work has gone in. What I hear in the quotes from the Broncos are deferences -- repeated propping up of others, yes, Tebow more than others (for many reasons). But even (perhaps, especially) Tebow is quick to defer to his teammates and “the team” as a whole. He gets it.
*When I came home last night, my wife and six month old daughter were asleep. They wanted to stay awake, but my wife has to leave for work very early. My son (now 2.5 years old) shuffled out to greet his very sore daddy. He wanted a refill on his milk -- no problem there. As he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, I bent down (painfully) and placed the medal I received for completing the race around his neck. I told him he was a champion. I thanked him for giving me the inspiration to do more. I had a hard time taking that medal off of him when we went to bed. This morning he put it back on. He walked around the house saying “I’m a champion”. I couldn’t be more proud or thankful.