Saturday, October 11, 2008

The pain of discipline or the pain of regret?

With October comes shorter days, cooler weather, turning leaves…

And football coaches trying all SORTS of things to inspire their teams to play to their highest level.

New York Jets head coach Erik Mangini is an especially strong advocate of motivational speakers and techniques.

In the past three years, he’s brought in all-time receiving leader Jerry Rice; Jim Calhoun, men’s basketball coach at UConn, former Olympic decathlete Dan O’Brien and the boxing trainer Teddy Atlas, to name just a few.

This week I heard Mangini mention something that Baltimore Colts coach Mike McCormack used to ask his players (although it's also attributed to others including Jim Rohn).

"Would you prefer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?"

Point being, of course, that the pain of discipline is fleeting, while the pain of regret can be eternal.

It reminded me of something my marathon training buddies and I talk about when we're out sufferin' and griping in the mid-August Florida heat running 16 miles.

"You can pay now… or you can pay on race day."

It's all about choices.

Life is short...
Don't let those last few moments we'll all have someday be filled with what-ifs and might-have-beens!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

So I Think I've Got Problems?

“Hi… I found… found you guys online and I was wondering if I could run with… ya… you?”

Every few months, a newcomer shows up for our Saturday morning marathon training group. But there was something very unusual about the young lady who joined us this this morning.

“My name is K… K… Ki… Ki … Kim.”

She was about 30, looked to be in good running shape, and beamed a big, friendly, and outgoing smile.

And, as we all soon realized, she had a serious speech disability.

Along Ocean Boulevard on Boca Raton, we have our routines. We chat as we run, and the conversation flows quickly and easily.

But now, every time Kim had something to say, it was turning into a 30 second episode.

I began rooting for that one final word to come out… you almost want to shout it out… help her along. But you don’t. And after a while, it can get just a little bit "uncomfortable".

We had a nice run. But afterwards something was bugging me. That's when I started thinking about it all.

Uncomfortable? I was uncomfortable? The nerve of me!

What about Kim!?

Every day, every hour… every conversation, every confrontation, every chance meeting… the simplest dialog must become an incredible challenge. Filled, no doubt, with stares, strange looks, sometimes, no doubt, even ridicule.

How brave she must be to live that life, and to then come out and meet a group of 10 total strangers, smiling and telling light-hearted stories the whole time. What courage!

Shame on me for my self-pity when I whine about my trivial little “problems”. My issues don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to the millions who face real difficulties and challenges, many of them far tougher than Kim’s.

The next time I’m feeling down, I’ll think about Kim and thank my lucky stars for inspirations like her.

And I'll hope that should I ever face such challenges, may I be able to summon up Kim's kind of courage.