March 25, 2023
Annapolis, US 51 F

An Average Joe

Chuck at my gym misses me in the spring, summer and a good portion of the fall.  I still work out but I am only in the gym for strength training twice a week.  The rest of the time I can be found outside, either on my neighborhood streets, the B&A Trail or when I am really lucky out on the back roads of South County on my road bike.  This week though I had a scheduling conflict and an uncooperative four year old that forced me into the gym.  Through a comedy of errors I ended up on a spinning bike with no instructor and no entertainment.  So, I did something I frown upon.  I read gossip magazines.

But even in the glossy pages of a gossip magazine I found inspiration or, I should say, I rediscovered inspiration.  There were photos from a summer wedding.  Kerri Strug was married over the summer.  You remember her, right?   She was the gymnast who hurt her ankle before her second vault in the Olympics but returned to help the USA win Gold.  What an inspiring moment that was.

Sitting there, pedaling away and letting my mind wander, I asked myself a stupid question?  How often does inspiration like that come along?  Honestly, I considered smacking myself.  How often does inspiration like that come along?  Really?  Just this week, inspiration like that has come along in my life at least a dozen times.

Earlier during the week I spent some time with Sarah Stanley, a cyclist and runner who is cycling from Washington, DC to New York City to raise money in the fight against childhood obesity.  That same day I met a man who played lacrosse for the Unites States Naval Academy, found out he had testicular cancer, went through treatment and came back to play again later that season only to find out the following year it was back and have to fight back all over again.  And he won.  Still on the same day, I met a woman who has run distances most of us don’t even like to drive.  And just last weekend, I ran a trail race with dozens of women who fell over and over again on a very technical course in Northern Virginia only to get up and finish the race.

I had shared some of these stories with a friend and fellow athlete, Sheldon Caplan, and he emailed me this response this morning.

While we aren’t the fittest, fastest, strongest, or most famous athletes out there, we are the ones that many aspire to emulate. They can connect with us and know that they too can achieve what we have with some resolve and hard work. I really couldn’t care less about what some Olympic athlete is doing, that’s not me, and that will never be me. But when I read about regular people with regular daily struggles throwing their monkey off their shoulder, now that is an inspiration. If they can do it, so can I.

While I do love to watch professional athletes and I do find some inspiration in their amazing prowess, I understand Sheldon’s point.  As though to reinforce his point I came across this video this afternoon of an average Joe.  Actually, his name is Ben Davis and if his story doesn’t inspire you to get out and get active, I don’t know what will.

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