Some heroes get a certificate, medal, trophy or an award. But there are other everyday heroes that quietly walk among us that you may not recognize. In their humility, their stories are slow to come out, but once told it makes you realize the strength and resolve of the human spirit, and the fact that there’s very little that we truly can’t accomplish.
Coach Jim has such a story. Jim is one of our community baseball coaches, but he’s not just any coach. He’s the kind of guy that goes to the field 3 hours before the game to make sure that all is in place. He’s the kind of guy that holds special one-on-one pitching practice for nervous little leaguers taking the mound for the first time. He’s the kind of guy that has plaques made for no-hitters and has the kind of team parties and award ceremonies that make the kids yearn all year for the next season. And if his story stopped there it would be an incredible one, but it doesn’t…
Four years ago, Jim was a smoker and over 40 pounds heavier. Having his own construction company, he got used to meals on the go and a lifestyle that was far from healthy. A former high school track star, he remembers looking at a picture of himself at a water park and wondering, what happened to me?!
Coach Jim changed. He hasn’t smoked in over 4 years and has taken his running routine from leisurely jogs to 5ks and now to long distance running. Last winter he finished the Disney World ½ Marathon (at a sub-7 minute pace)!! He has inspired many other neighborhood runners and kids to get into fitness and running. He also changed his eating habits and even coaxed our local pizzeria into coming up with low-calorie menu items! Next on his to-do list: qualify for the Boston Marathon. Go Jim!!
What makes Jim so special (aside from his selfless and gracious character) is the fact that despite many obstacles, he succeeded and continues to succeed. Not because he had it easy…far from it. He quit smoking and stopped a frightening weight gain trend. He found time to run in an industry that has little or any “free” time. Jim ignored the trap of complacency and embraced change. Jim makes time to exercise and to live healthy because it’s important to him, his future, and to his family and friends. He’s committed to it. Coach Jim is a role model and an inspiration. He succeeded because he wanted to succeed and because he works hard at it.
So the next time you struggle getting out of bed for a morning run or ponder skipping that set of push-ups and crunches, think about the people that you may inspire and the success story that you have yet to write. The world needs motivators…more success stories….more people like Coach Jim.
You can find this article and other motivational fitness information in the July 2008 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.