Monday, February 22, 2010

Enough About You...Let's Talk About Me Some More

This is Part II, you can read Part I here

Heroes, Role Models, Influences
When I was a kid my heroes were baseball players, I loved the game (not so much anymore) and felt that some of those players were great role models. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to meet some of my heroes and with the exception of Roy Campanella...none of them are/were worthy of hero status! Actors/Athletes/Musicians are not heroes or role models, the real heroes are the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces that fight to protect our freedom. Remember...Freedom isn't free and these men and women sacrifice alot for us and some give the ultimate sacrifice.

I had one person in my life that was a great role model for me...his name was Ken and he was my high school science and math teacher. He understood that high school was a very difficult time for a lot of teenagers and knew how to connect with us. I have often said that from the 4th grade through high school is the toughest time in a person's life, they are trying to figure out who they are, and what they want to be. Sometimes they just don't fit in, sometimes they become followers, instead of blazing their own path in life. Ken and I remained friends long after high school, we shared lots of things in common, trains (both real and model), music, and racquetball, which we played every week for 10 years. In 2008, Ken was diagnosed with prostate cancer that spread to his spine. He spent the last 6 months of his life in a convalescent home, he died in July 2008 at 61 years old. He lived his life as a loner, but that is how he wanted it and enjoyed it. My biggest regret is that at the end, I didn't push him to give me his sister or nieces full names and contact info. After he died, I took his laptop hoping to find their names and found nothing. To this day, 18 months later, they have no idea that he has passed. I have been working on it for 18 months and have hit many roadblocks as all I have to go on is first names. I have made it one of my goals in life to try and track them down and let them know, I hope I am able to complete this task.

Today I am influenced and inspired by a great number of people. Some are friends, some are family, some are people that I read their blogs, some are those I have never met and may never meet but they have all shaped me in some form or another. I try to find inspiration from the people I deal with on an everyday basis...if you look hard enough, you will find it. I was recently re-watching the Ironman World Championships (I keep them on the DVR for inspiration) and two people stood out as inspirational...Jon Blais, the first person with ALS to complete an Ironman and Rudy Garcia-Tolson, the first double amputee above the knee to complete the race. These people are amazing!

A Few years ago, I started living my life with goals in mind. My main goal is to be the best husband, father, son, brother, and friend to the people in my life. I have both short term and long term goals as well. Short term, I want to finish the LA Marathon, complete 5 triathlons this year including Malibu and the LA Triathlon (Olympic distance). I also want to start giving back...instead of writing checks, I want to volunteer my time and hopefully to a cause that has to do with athletics. My long term goals are to complete both a 1/2 and full Ironman race.

Why I Blog...
I enjoy sharing my experiences with you, the reader. To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies, Van Wilder,"Inspire the Uninspired." If I can inspire just one person, then it is all worth it.

**Most of this post was written last week. Yesterday I ran the SRLA 18 mile Friendship Run and was fortunate enough to meet some very inspiring kids and some great adult leaders. I will post more on that in my coming race report.


Mary Ann said...

I am Jon Blais' you may or may not know he passed away in May, 2007. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and hope you find his family.
Jon was an amazing son,teacher,friend and athlete an he spent the last 2 yrs of his life spreading awareness and raising funds for ALS research. His foundation and his personal website you may find inspiring.
Thank you...
Mary Ann
Jon's mom

Glenn Jones said...

Very cool post Bob!

Speaking of model trains - somewhere at my parents house I still have my Lionel train set up in the attic. I used to love playing with my train set!