Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Pause

I am taking a brief pause from the day because I feel it is very needed.  This is the time we are to remember all the things we have to be thankful for yet I find myself in a place of anger tied to the repercussions of my biking accident. I guess I have reason to be upset. A mere 10 seconds of concern for the rest of the world from a guy in a truck to look in the mirror and I am in a much different place today. Instead a face plant at 21mph has so many things on hold.  While my shoulder and arm are healing, other much more concerning ailments are presenting themselves that have me fearful my life of endurance sports comes to an end. I missed a 50K, I will miss CIM in two weeks, Oceanside 70.3 and AR50 are in danger, I most likely have to bow out of the AC 100, etc, etc.  Anger is not a great place to dwell so I offer the following to myself:

·I am thankful that even if I never run another step in my life, I have already run farther than most ever will.
·I am thankful that despite my injuries, I am still here breathing and capable of savoring so many things that life has to offer.
·I am thankful for all of the quirky things that make my son Jaden for without him life would be far less interesting.
·I am thankful for the most amazing smile that rests on the face of my daughter Thalia.  I am convinced her smile is capable of changing the world.
·I am thankful that my wife was stronger than cancer……twice.
·I am thankful that a recent cancer scare for my wife was simply a scare and that today she remains cancer free.
·I am thankful that my wife has had to power to forgive the many mistakes I have made along the way.
·I am thankful my father taught me how to work hard, laugh hard, enjoy challenges and how to fight back.
·I am thankful for an amazing job that never allows the opportunity of boredom.
·I am thankful for a mother that taught me compassion and exactly what having a big heart really means.
·I am thankful that my life crossed paths with Alison Chavez years ago because without saying a word to each other face to face over the past few months…..she has taught me what true strength is.
·I am thankful for all of the folks that helped me to raise over $20,000 this year towards finding a cure for cancer…..many of whom are also responsible for helping me raise the $135,000 life to date.
·I am thankful to Team in Training for allowing me to better myself while having the opportunity to impact lives.
·I am thankful to all of the folks on the Fall 2013 Westside marathon team for taking a leap of faith, believing they could do something they once thought impossible and for allowing me the chance to maybe see things a little differently.
·I am thankful that I have a second chance to be the Dad that my daughter Tiana deserved when she came into my life when she was 5 years old. 
·I am thankful to many friends….. both real and virtual for being quite remarkable. 

This list could keep going but I feel back on track. I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving and take a moment to look past all the challenges life has to offer to see all of the blessings that surround you.  Cheers.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Isabella's Day 2013

It seems like yesterday that I asked my annual favor of everyone tied to Isabella’s Day but apparently another year has passed. For many of you reading this story, Isabella has probably touched your life through me.  For many of you, we probably would not have met were it not for Isabella and her impact on my life.  I made a promise to her that I would lead a good life…….be a good person………make a difference…..try to do more for the world than it does for me.  I still have work to do.  I have more improvements to make and I certainly have more things to accomplish but I would say I am on the right track. As I write this post, I know I could look Isabella in the eyes and tell her I am a better person today than I was a year ago.  Improvement is good. The beauty of having your own personal Angel sitting in Heaven, though, is that you do not actually have to tell her…….she just knows or so that is what I choose to believe. While I do not walk around preaching the bible and while I drop a few too many foul words throughout the day and while I have a warped sense of humor that might be inappropriate for Heaven (although I am sure God has to fight back some laughter), I believe my little girl is with me all the time. I believe she meets me at the finish line of all my races and, while it may sound unbelievable to you……..I actually feel her from time to time. It very well could be my imagination but I have trouble with that theory because I am not walking around in life waiting for a sign that angels exist.  Faith in anything is about believing with no sign of proof.  I just live my life and try to make the best of most days.  I try to do my very best at work so the company I work for is successful and that the team I work on can shine. I try to be the best Dad and husband I can be and I try to be someone that motivates others to do things they maybe thought were impossible.  I try to beat cancer and will continue to do so until a cure is found.  Along this road I travel…….from time to time………I feel my daughter. It is very infrequent, always quite unexpected and most times almost drops me to my knees in tears.  Some of those tears are certainly sad because I miss my daughter…….I miss not getting to see her grow up……….I miss not getting to see her make mistakes……….I miss not getting to hear her laughter.  I know I never heard my daughter but hopefully you understand what I mean. The silence on Christmas and Easter and the first day of school and August 1st is deafening and I would much rather have the sound of her voice so………..I miss it.  Anyway, while some of these tears are sad there is also a huge part of these moments that are overwhelming in an amazing way.  For a tiny moment in time, I feel connected to my little one and, be it true or not, the feeling is real.  I would attempt to describe these moments but I am not nearly the writer I would need to be to do justice to the experience so I will leave it to your imagination. 

For this year I put together a short video.  You may have to watch this video on a PC as I work through copyright issues with YouTube but for now I am in compliance. In the video are some pictures of my time with Isabella………the nine months she grew safe and secure with my wife and the few minutes we had with her after she passed. I apologize if this is tough to watch or moves you to tears. That is not my plan but it might happen. I have pictures of Isabella from the hospital.  I usually go out of my way ‘not’ to look at them but this year I had the courage to look once again. August 1, 2003 was a bad day.  I am sure you can feel the sadness that was present when looking at the photos taken in the hospital.  It was a horrible day….truthfully the worst….. but the story, as you probably know, did not end there. It took a few days but I stood up. I gained strength and I tried to give that strength to others.  A horrible day out of which came amazing things.  I also included a picture in the video that was used for the Isabella’s Day 2012 post taken by Rich Cruse, an amazing photographer. It is the way I like to imagine my little girl today……..a huge smile running around the beach.  The last photo (actually a video clip) comes from a place deep within and is how I imagine seeing my daughter when I someday come to meet her.  I do not know how Heaven works but I hope to see Isabella as my little girl when I get there.  If Heaven is what makes us happy………..Isabella will be dancing around a meadow when I open my eyes after my time here is done.  This really leads into the song that is playing behind the video.  The song is called Bella and is by Angus and Julia Stone.  A friend heard this song……knew of my story……….and sent it to me and I have listened to it almost every day since.  Outside of my story, the song is amazing and I highly recommend the entire album called ‘A Book Like This’. I could not tell you what the song means to the artists.  I only know what it means to me and it is about the time when I actually meet my little girl. I refuse to listen to all of the words in great detail because I hear what I hear and if I piece all of the lyrics together that meaning might change.  The song opens with a young girl saying the words ‘Hello’.  To me, those words are from my little girl as I open my eyes in another place.  From there we proceed to do whatever she wants to do. I am just happy to be with her but at some point I stop her and ask ‘Can I have this dance with you?”.  I always dance with my kids. I grew up in a techno/trance/hip hop world and despite being an old dude, my mind remembers the clubs so going crazy with my kids is the best. This dance with Isabella will be different though (although if Heaven is what makes you happy there will certainly be some bumping music).  This dance will be a slow dance to make up for lost years… excuse to be able to hold her tight.  From there we continue to do all of the extraordinary things I hope you can do in Heaven but at some point I stop and just watch Isabella dance around…… a meadow which leads to the lyrics I always remember from this song:

“There she sits with them big old fields of daisies and rusty mills.
And when the sun it shines on her hair of gold,
She’s beautiful,
She’s beautiful”

I miss my little girl with her hair of gold.  August 1st will be tough as always but I will make the best of it and spend time with my wife reflecting on a bad day but a great life. If you could do that favor for me one more time, I would appreciate it.  It is simple but a grand gesture to help me remember a little girl that helped define me.  In case you need a reminder of what the favor is or might be hearing it for the first time……..all I ask is that at any time throughout the day on 8/1/13, just raise a glass to Isabella.  It could be your bottle of Nuun at the end of a long run or your coffee to start the day.  It could be a sip of water or an expensive bottle of wine.  None of that matters.  Helping me remember is the important thing.  As always thank you so much!

Christopher D. Wilno

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hope Next Exit Three Winners

So the winners were drawn on Sunday night as promised. The video is posted below.  Forgive the camera angle of my phone. I was instructed to hold my iPhone vertically which looks silly but, hey, I listened. You will also notice I introduce my wife to the right when she is to the left. I was not drunk for this drawing which is a guarantee because I do not drink (except for sips of very expensive wine now and then).

If you take the numbers above and apply them to the list below, you will find that these are the winners (note: I added an extra prize):

Avatar DVD Set: Charles Antis
$25 Gift Card: Michael Burke
$50 Starbucks Card: Sean Savitt
HP Calculator: Tim Weston
Punk Rock Racing Gear: Lisa Williamson
Lexmark Printer: Charles Sooter
HP Printer: Justin Anderson
Kindle Ereader: Dave Floyd
Kindle Touch: Michael Burke
Beats Solo Headphones: Patricia Harris
Kindle Fire HD7: Bob Crisman
Acer NB: Michael Burke (Hat trick)
Beats Pill: Rick Leeson
HP Spectre XT:  Charlene Levy

Thank you again!!!!  I am leaving the original post unchanged below

On Sunday night June 30, 2013, I will pull the winners for the Hope Next Exit 3 raffle which raised $9,330 to fight cancer.  It has been a fun journey and I am grateful to everyone for their support. In total, I raised just over $21,000 which brings my life to date fundraising over $130,000. Those totals are not testaments to me but testaments to all of you for I am nothing without support.  Below is a list of those that contributed to the raffle. If you see your name is missing, please let me know ASAP. The list was built off a download out of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society database so I am confident it is accurate. To draw the winners, I will videotape my children pulling the raffle tickets and post that video here as part of this post.  The raffle tickets only have numbers which will correspond back to this post.  You will see some tickets assigned to Anonymous.  I am listing the name in case it was an accident and the owner of the $100 donation comes forward. You will also see my name. If I win, the prize goes back to charity. Good luck to all and thank you all so much!!!!!

Adam Heiser 50413
Adam Heiser 50414
Adam Heiser 50415
Alfred Quiring 50014
Anonymous 50395
Anonymous 50396
Anonymous 50397
Anonymous 50398
Anonymous 50399
Anonymous 50400
Ariel Nahmias 50143
Ariel Nahmias 50144
Ariel Nahmias 50145
Bethany Chaney 49948
Bethany Chaney 49949
Bethany Chaney 49950
Bethany Chaney 49951
Bethany Chaney 49952
Bethany Chaney 49953
Calvin Lin 50404
Calvin Lin 50405
Calvin Lin 50406
Carolynne Fargey 50015
Carolynne Fargey 50016
Carolynne Fargey 50017
Cecily Sweeney 50164
Cecily Sweeney 50165
Cecily Sweeney 50166
Cecily Sweeney 50167
Cecily Sweeney 50168
Cecily Sweeney 50169
Charlene Levy 50036
Charlene Levy 50037
Charlene Levy 50038
Charlene Levy 50423
Charlene Levy 50424
Charlene Levy 50425
Charles Antis 50192
Charles Antis 50193
Charles Antis 50194
Charles Antis 50195
Charles Antis 50196
Charles Antis 50197
Charles Antis 50198
Charles Antis 50199
Charles Antis 50200
Charles Antis 50201
Charles Antis 50202
Charles Antis 50203
Charles Antis 50204
Charles Antis 50205
Charles Antis 50206
Charles Antis 50207
Charles Antis 50208
Charles Antis 50209
Charles Antis 50210
Charles Antis 50211
Charles Antis 50212
Charles Antis 50213
Charles Antis 50214
Charles Antis 50215
Charles Antis 50216
Charles Antis 50217
Charles Antis 50218
Charles Antis 50219
Charles Antis 50220
Charles Antis 50221
Charles Sooter 50449
Charles Sooter 50450
Charles Sooter 50451
Charles Sooter 50452
Charles Sooter 50453
Charles Sooter 50454
Chatty Arrieta 49942
Chatty Arrieta 49943
Chatty Arrieta 49944
Chatty Arrieta 49945
Chatty Arrieta 49946
Chatty Arrieta 49947
Christopher Wilno 50066
Christopher Wilno 50067
Christopher Wilno 50068
Christopher Wilno 50069
Christopher Wilno 50070
Christopher Wilno 50071
Christopher Wilno 50072
Dashiell Nash 50353
Dashiell Nash 50354
Dashiell Nash 50355
David Blaszkowski 50021
David Blaszkowski 50022
David Blaszkowski 50023
David Rodman 50426
David Rodman 50427
David Rodman 50428
David Rodman 50429
David Rodman 50430
David Rodman 50431
David Rodman 50432
David Wolpe 50223
David Wolpe 50224
David Wolpe 50225
David Wolpe 50226
David Wolpe 50227
David Wolpe 50228
David Wolpe 50229
David Wolpe 50230
David Wolpe 50231
David Wolpe 50232
David Wolpe 50233
David Wolpe 50234
David Wolpe 50235
David Wolpe 50236
David Wolpe 50237
David Wolpe 50238
David Wolpe 50239
David Wolpe 50240
David Wolpe 50241
David Wolpe 50242
David Wolpe 50243
David Wolpe 50244
David Wolpe 50245
David Wolpe 50246
David Wolpe 50247
David Wolpe 50248
David Wolpe 50249
David Wolpe 50250
David Wolpe 50251
David Wolpe 50252
David Wolpe 50253
David Wolpe 50254
David Wolpe 50255
David Wolpe 50256
David Wolpe 50257
David Wolpe 50258
David Wolpe 50259
David Wolpe 50260
David Wolpe 50261
David Wolpe 50262
David Wolpe 50263
David Wolpe 50264
David Wolpe 50265
David Wolpe 50266
David Wolpe 50267
David Wolpe 50268
David Wolpe 50269
David Wolpe 50270
David Wolpe 50271
David Wolpe 50272
David Wolpe 50273
David Wolpe 50274
David Wolpe 50275
David Wolpe 50276
David Wolpe 50277
David Wolpe 50278
David Wolpe 50279
David Wolpe 50280
David Wolpe 50281
David Wolpe 50282
David Wolpe 50283
David Wolpe 50284
David Wolpe 50285
David Wolpe 50286
David Wolpe 50287
David Wolpe 50288
David Wolpe 50289
David Wolpe 50290
David Wolpe 50291
David Wolpe 50292
David Wolpe 50293
David Wolpe 50294
David Wolpe 50295
David Wolpe 50296
David Wolpe 50297
David Wolpe 50298
David Wolpe 50299
David Wolpe 50300
David Wolpe 50301
David Wolpe 50302
David Wolpe 50303
David Wolpe 50304
David Wolpe 50305
David Wolpe 50306
David Wolpe 50307
David Wolpe 50308
David Wolpe 50309
David Wolpe 50310
David Wolpe 50311
David Wolpe 50312
David Wolpe 50313
David Wolpe 50314
David Wolpe 50315
David Wolpe 50316
David Wolpe 50317
David Wolpe 50318
David Wolpe 50319
David Wolpe 50320
David Wolpe 50321
David Wolpe 50322
David Wolpe 50323
David Wolpe 50324
David Wolpe 50325
David Wolpe 50326
David Wolpe 50327
David Wolpe 50328
David Wolpe 50329
David Wolpe 50330
Deborah Kazlowski 50018
Deborah Kazlowski 50019
Deborah Kazlowski 50020
Dena Grablowsky 49988
Dena Grablowsky 49989
Dena Grablowsky 49990
Dena Grablowsky 49991
Dena Grablowsky 49992
Dena Grablowsky 49993
Diana Fisk 50357
Diana Fisk 50358
Diana Fisk 50359
Diana Fisk 50360
Diana Fisk 50361
Diana Fisk 50362
Diana Fisk 50363
Diana Fisk 50364
Diana Fisk 50365
Diana Fisk 50366
Diana Fisk 50367
Diana Fisk 50368
Diana Fisk 50369
Diana Fisk 50370
Diana Fisk 50371
Edward Schober 50372
Elisabeth Waller Scott 49954
Fern Oliner 50060
Fern Oliner 50061
Fern Oliner 50062
Fern Oliner 50063
Fern Oliner 50064
Fern Oliner 50065
Gary Palenbaum 49998
Gary Palenbaum 49999
Gary Palenbaum 50000
Gary Palenbaum 50001
Gary Palenbaum 50002
Gary Palenbaum 50003
George Manor 50373
George Manor 50374
George Manor 50375
George Manor 50376
George Manor 50377
George Manor 50378
Glenn McDaniel 50222
Hale & Hale DDS 50054
Hale & Hale DDS 50055
Hale & Hale DDS 50056
Hale & Hale DDS 50057
Hale & Hale DDS 50058
Hale & Hale DDS 50059
Heather Gonzalez 50416
Jackie Laine 50170
Jason Liszewski 50401
Jason Liszewski 50402
Jason Liszewski 50403
Jennifer Zenuch 50388
Jennifer Zenuch 50389
Jennifer Zenuch 50390
JoAnn Beluch 50011
JoAnn Beluch 50012
JoAnn Beluch 50013
Jody Del Vecchio 50433
Jody Del Vecchio 50434
Jody Del Vecchio 50435
Jody Del Vecchio 50436
Jody Del Vecchio 50437
Jody Del Vecchio 50438
Jody Del Vecchio 50439
Jody Del Vecchio 50440
Jody Del Vecchio 50441
Jody Del Vecchio 50442
Jody Del Vecchio 50443
Jody Del Vecchio 50444
Jody Del Vecchio 50445
Jody Del Vecchio 50446
Jody Del Vecchio 50447
John Floyd 50091
John Floyd 50092
John Floyd 50093
John Floyd 50094
John Floyd 50095
John Floyd 50096
John Floyd 50097
John Floyd 50098
John Floyd 50099
John Floyd 50100
John Floyd 50101
John Floyd 50102
John Floyd 50103
John Floyd 50104
John Floyd 50105
Judy Williamson 50455
Judy Williamson 50456
Judy Williamson 50457
Judy Williamson 50458
Judy Williamson 50459
Judy Williamson 50460
Justin Anderson 50039
Justin Anderson 50040
Justin Anderson 50041
Ken Chastain 50152
Ken Chastain 50153
Ken Chastain 50154
Ken Chastain 50155
Ken Chastain 50156
Ken Chastain 50157
Ken Chastain 50158
Ken Chastain 50159
Ken Chastain 50160
Ken Chastain 50161
Ken Chastain 50162
Ken Chastain 50163
Laurie Hayden 50042
Laurie Hayden 50043
Laurie Hayden 50044
Laurie Hayden 50045
Laurie Hayden 50046
Laurie Hayden 50047
Linda Kumagai 50004
Linda Kumagai 50005
Linda Kumagai 50006
Loreen Fujinami 50048
Loreen Fujinami 50049
Loreen Fujinami 50050
Loreen Fujinami 50051
Loreen Fujinami 50052
Loreen Fujinami 50053
Lori Jomsky 50171
Lori Jomsky 50172
Lori Jomsky 50173
Lori Jomsky 50174
Lori Jomsky 50175
Lori Jomsky 50176
Lori Jomsky 50177
Lori Jomsky 50178
Lori Jomsky 50179
Lori Jomsky 50180
Lori Jomsky 50181
Lori Jomsky 50182
Lori Jomsky 50183
Lori Jomsky 50184
Lori Jomsky 50185
Lori Jomsky 50186
Lori Jomsky 50187
Lori Jomsky 50188
Lori Jomsky 50189
Lori Jomsky 50190
Lori Jomsky 50191
Lulu Zadoyan 50349
Marc Wishingrad 50146
Marc Wishingrad 50147
Marc Wishingrad 50148
Marc Wishingrad 50149
Marc Wishingrad 50150
Marc Wishingrad 50151
Marina Vargas 49994
Marjorie Wilno 49924
Marjorie Wilno 49925
Marjorie Wilno 49926
Marjorie Wilno 49927
Marjorie Wilno 49928
Marjorie Wilno 49929
Marjorie Wilno 49930
Marjorie Wilno 49931
Marjorie Wilno 49932
Marjorie Wilno 49933
Marjorie Wilno 49934
Marjorie Wilno 49935
Marjorie Wilno 49936
Marjorie Wilno 49937
Marjorie Wilno 49938
Marjorie Wilno 49939
Marjorie Wilno 49940
Marjorie Wilno 49941
Matthew Barnette 50331
Matthew Barnette 50332
Matthew Barnette 50333
Matthew Barnette 50334
Matthew Barnette 50335
Matthew Barnette 50336
Michael Burke 49958
Michael Burke 49959
Michael Burke 49960
Michael Burke 49961
Michael Burke 49962
Michael Burke 49963
Michael Burke 49964
Michael Burke 49965
Michael Burke 49966
Michael Burke 49967
Michael Burke 49968
Michael Burke 49969
Michael Burke 49970
Michael Burke 49971
Michael Burke 49972
Michael Burke 49973
Michael Burke 49974
Michael Burke 49975
Michael Burke 49976
Michael Burke 49977
Michael Burke 49978
Michael Burke 49979
Michael Burke 49980
Michael Burke 49981
Michael Burke 49982
Michael Burke 49983
Michael Burke 49984
Michael Burke 49985
Michael Burke 49986
Michael Burke 49987
Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr 50027
Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr 50028
Miriam Sandy Hopkinson Sr 50029
Molly Chance 49995
Molly Chance 49996
Molly Chance 49997
Nick Gardner 50337
Nick Gardner 50338
Nick Gardner 50339
Nick Gardner 50340
Nick Gardner 50341
Nick Gardner 50342
Nick Gardner 50343
Nick Gardner 50344
Nick Gardner 50345
Nick Gardner 50346
Nick Gardner 50347
Nick Gardner 50348
Nina Jack 50410
Nina Jack 50411
Nina Jack 50412
Patricia Harris 50106
Patricia Harris 50107
Patricia Harris 50108
Patricia Harris 50109
Patricia Harris 50110
Patricia Harris 50111
Patricia Harris 50112
Patricia Harris 50113
Patricia Harris 50114
Patricia Harris 50115
Patricia Harris 50116
Patricia Harris 50117
Patricia Harris 50118
Patricia Harris 50119
Patricia Harris 50120
Patricia Harris 50121
Patricia Harris 50122
Patricia Harris 50123
Patricia Harris 50124
Patricia Harris 50125
Patricia Harris 50126
Patricia Harris 50127
Patricia Harris 50128
Patricia Harris 50129
Patricia Harris 50130
Patricia Harris 50131
Patricia Harris 50132
Patricia Harris 50133
Patricia Harris 50134
Patricia Harris 50135
Patricia Souder 50356
Paul Partaine 50461
Paul Partaine 50462
Paul Partaine 50463
Peter Conlon 50033
Peter Conlon 50034
Peter Conlon 50035
Peter Woflflein 50136
Rachel Yonda 50392
Rachel Yonda 50393
Rachel Yonda 50394
Richard Leeson 50137
Richard Leeson 50138
Richard Leeson 50139
Richard Leeson 50140
Richard Leeson 50141
Richard Leeson 50142
Robert Crisman 50464
Robert Crisman 50465
Robert Crisman 50466
Robert Crisman 50467
Robert Crisman 50468
Robert Crisman 50469
Robert Crisman 50470
Robert Crisman 50471
Robert Crisman 50472
Robert Sandiford 50007
Robert Sandiford 50008
Robert Sandiford 50009
Ron Harvey 50073
Ron Harvey 50074
Ron Harvey 50075
Ron Harvey 50076
Ron Harvey 50077
Ron Harvey 50078
Ron Harvey 50079
Ron Harvey 50080
Ron Harvey 50081
Ron Harvey 50082
Ron Harvey 50083
Ron Harvey 50084
Ron Harvey 50085
Ron Harvey 50086
Ron Harvey 50087
Ron Harvey 50088
Ron Harvey 50089
Ron Harvey 50090
Ronald Kaloper Eldridge 50024
Ronald Kaloper Eldridge 50025
Ronald Kaloper Eldridge 50026
Samuel Smeltzer 50030
Samuel Smeltzer 50031
Samuel Smeltzer 50032
Sandra Turco 50010
Sean Savitt 49955
Sean Savitt 49956
Sean Savitt 49957
shawna Smeltzer 50391
Stacy Sooter 49920
Stacy Sooter 49921
Stacy Sooter 49922
Therese Soltis 50379
Therese Soltis 50380
Therese Soltis 50381
Therese Soltis 50382
Therese Soltis 50383
Therese Soltis 50384
Therese Soltis 50385
Therese Soltis 50386
Therese Soltis 50387
Timothy Weston 50407
Timothy Weston 50408
Timothy Weston 50409
Traci Mcmurray 50448
Trisha Choate 50417
Trisha Choate 50418
Trisha Choate 50419
Trisha Choate 50420
Trisha Choate 50421
Trisha Choate 50422
Wagner Tejada 49923
Williamson 50350
Williamson 50351
Williamson 50352

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Lesson From Jackie

I went to see the movie 42 today with my son. He really wanted to see it and I was hoping to expose him to the lesson(s) that could come out the story of Jackie Robinson.  After seeing the movie, we sat and talked and I am confident I made the right decision to take him.  I am writing this short post to my son Jaden….in case he finds himself in life needing a reminder…… and to anyone else that might be listening.

I sat through this movie mesmerized.  I love any movie about baseball but this was for very different reasons and honestly my mind was a blur.  I started wondering about the type of person I am today and really hoped that, had I lived during the time period when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball, I would have been the guy that befriended Jackie Robinson and was accepting of change.  I would like to think I would have been the guy speaking his mind about how the world should work and the guy that stood up against racism.  I really believe I would have been that person. Growing up, while equality among color had made great strides….the world certainly was not perfect.  I was always the guy that tried to make friends with and stick up for the guy/girl on the outside…… it for color or any number of reasons.  I was the guy that wanted everyone to feel accepted and fit in.  Even later in life, albeit somewhat silly, I remember buying a t-shirt from Timberland in Chicago that read “Give Racism the Boot”.  I wore that shirt proudly and in places that might have been considered risky.  Many times I came close to getting my ass kicked but not by white people… African Americans because from afar they just saw a white dude wearing a shirt that had the word ‘racism’ on it.  They assumed the worst until getting closer and actually reading what the shirt said. We would usually just laugh, exchange some words and move on but every one of those many instances broke down the color barrier a little more.

I am thankful today, that my children do not understand racism.  Each of my children has friends of every race and religion and that is all they know.  I have mentioned this before but I literally think my 5 year old daughter is color blind. She does have some African American friends who she thankfully only knows as ‘friends’.  It is quite remarkable but if you ask my daughter to describe these friends, she will talk about what they wear or their sense of humor or how smart they are but she will never ever say they are ‘black’.  Ask her 20 different ways; the color of their skin will never ever be included in one of her replies. It is the way things should be and I hope she applies this to everything in life from color to religion to sexual preference.  We are all just people and if we unite as one, we can make the world a better place.  I really think this is a big part of the message of the movie……for my son and for all of us.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives”
Jackie Robinson

The story of Jackie Robinson tied to racism in the world but if you step back it is really tied to one man helping to change the world.  Look at how far we have come since 1947 when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball.  Look where the world was then and look where it is today.  After the movie, that is what I sat and told my son. One man made a difference.  One man changed the world.  You are one man, you can do exactly the same thing. Today, the world is not perfect.  We have made great strides in some areas of injustice but there are still a lot of improvements to be made.  There is disease, there is suffering and unfortunately race issues still exist as we have seen by recent events.  We can all as individuals jump in and lend a hand.  We can all as individuals make a difference.  We can all as individuals make the world a better place and, as I have said many times, if we as individuals come together as one with this mentality, changing the world is a certainty. My fight is against cancer.  What is your fight against? There is plenty of room for change in this world.  It is just waiting for you to jump in and make it happen.

To my son and my daughter, may you always treat everyone equally, may you fight for those that are treated less than equal and may you always know that within you is the power to make a difference.