The Packer Sweep

As many of you know I am a big Green Bay Packer fan. Being born in that city means it is in your blood. I recently watched a documentary on Vince Lombardi who many believe is the greatest coach and motivator who ever lived. His players would follow him anywhere. One of the bread and butter plays of those teams was the sweep. Pulling linemen from one side to the other side to provide more blocking and creating a bigger hole for the runners to go through. Even though the defense knew it was coming they couldn’t stop it because of the precision of eleven men doing their job.
It got me thinking of who I have followed in my life. As life comes at me who is creating the holes to go through and leading me to a greater good. Obviously for me the person providing the greatest opportunity to follow is God. Then I think of all the people who have led and motivated me.
My parents guided me for many years growing up and still are to this day. My mom is always there to lend an ear, and although my father has passed, his lessons and presence still resonate. I learned many business and sales techniques from the different bosses I have had. When I was diagnosed with ALS I had my faith, family, and friends to lean on but still something was missing. I had no one to relate to, no mentor to guide and lead me through this process. That all changed with one phone call from New Orleans a few years ago. Whether he wanted it or not, on that day Steve Gleason became my “pulling guard” leading me through the hole and showing me how to continue to lead a full life. I thought I was but see someone going through the same fight in the matter Steve did was very motivating. Trust me, there are many days it is easier to quit or give up but then I think of him and I push on. I don’t know how he feels about this role in his life but I’m not the only who feels this way about him.
I have since met other ALS patients who motivate me by their actions and I’ve been told the same by many others. It is like a relationship, when one is down the other is there to pick them up. We all need people to help lead us through life and if my life is any example I’ve had many people fill that role. Like the Packer Sweep it takes a team effort to find the greatest success. We can’t do it alone. And like Vince Lombardi was to those Packer teams, Steve Gleason is a leader to many of us fighting ALS.
 
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Playing Catch

One thing many of you don’t know about me is how much I am like my father and how much my life is mimicking his. Some of the big similarities is that we were both in sales, loved talking to others, etc but we both faced a major neurological medical situation at about the age of forty. My father started losing feeling and strength in his hands and limbs having to retire from work in his fifties. I don’t have any memories of playing sports with my dad as a youth. I remember him struggling to shoot a basketball as that was my main sport as a kid. My memories are of him sitting on a lawn chair watching me practice and going to my games always supporting me in that way. I felt bad for him but I never felt “cheated”. Although I’m sure he felt bad as a parent he couldn’t do those things with me.

I bring this up because I often wonder what my kids think about as we go down our journey. I really watch my ten year old son Evan and listen to what he says. Recently we were talking about cures for ALS. He is convinced they will find one soon and when they do all he wants to do is play catch with me. Although he did say I get 30 days to get in shape. Thanks son. Of course my heart sank as I know without a miracle that won’t happen. So I asked him what others things would he rather do and he said “nothing I just want to play catch with you”. So I decided to ask the older boys and they said the same darn thing. It made me realize that a bond between a father and a son can be as simple as playing catch. I also know that despite wanting to do this they will never feel cheated later in life. My experience gives me comfort because seeing that disappointment in his eyes is tough.

 
 
 
 
So enjoy the simples pleasures with your kids. The trips and toys are great but if my childhood proves anything and my kids are any proof, a simple game of playing catch will impact them and create a lifelong bond.

Finding Small Miracles

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Lets face it, for most people life is hard. There is a daily struggle that occurs for everyone within the 24 hours that make up our day. That last sentence may cause some of you conflict.   We all have neighbors, friends, or people we see that don’t seem to have an ounce of the… Read more.

Second Chance

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How often do you get a second chance in life? Many times when we are desperate we find ourselves praying to God saying “if you do ‘this’ or help me with ‘this’, I will do ‘this’ from now on.” How many people do you think have said the words “I hope they tell me I… Read more.

Love of the Game

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  Hockey has been a part of my life since my 1st time on skates on the Milwaukee River in Thiensville. Having never played youth or High School hockey my interest really began to grow when I went to school in Madison and went to my first Badger Hockey game. Chris Chelios actually tossed his stick… Read more.

The Winter Soul

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Now that winter is kicking in where I live here in the Midwest, usually all I want to do is stop moving and hibernate somewhere warm. When you live up here, regardless of your desire to push forward in some direction of accomplishment and progress, it’s a slowing down time of year. Movement is restricted… Read more.

Thanksgiving

 
Thanksgiving is upon us, and for most of us that means tons of food, family and prayers of gratitude. But what if the miracles we’ve prayed for this year, the things we were sure would happen… never did? How can we be grateful for the things that didn’t come our way?
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you thought it was a sign of something to come? This has happened to me many times but quite often I would shrug them off. Many times I would tell someone about it and they would convince me to see it through. One example occurred when I was dating. It was a blind date with unusual circumstances that I did not want to go on, but a friend convinced me that it was meant to happen. Let’s just say it was a complete disaster, at least the date was. But what I learned was to take chances and eventually, another blind date led me to my wife. I was embarrassed about that first blind date, waiting for a miracle that never materialized believing divine intervention would make itself known to me.
How about that promotion at work we felt we deserved and wanted but never received. Many times down the road it was the best thing that never happened because an even better situation presented itself.
Then I thought perhaps the miracles that didn’t happen for us caused or resulted in a miracle happening for someone else, and it wouldn’t have occurred had what we prayed for really happened. That’s an incredible thought, and one that we should consider whenever we don’t get what we’re expecting. I believe we are all a part of a much bigger plan than we are aware of. We just have to accept what life gives us each day and realize it is a blessing even if we don’t understand it.                  
So this holiday season, thank God not only for the miracles he’s done for you but for the miracles he’s done for others, too. You may have been a part of one, without ever even knowing about it.

Weathering the Storm

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We have all heard the phrase ”weathering the storm.” But what does it really mean and what tools do you use to weather the storm? The storms in your life may be big or small. Some of the storms may be just a part of life, and yet, we may bring some of those storms… Read more.

Divided yet United

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  We live in the United States but lately it doesn’t seem like we are very united as a country. We live in a time where our differences seem to jump out and distinguish us more than those things that unite us. It is very apparent when you watch all the political ads on television these days…. Read more.

Wonderful Wednesdays

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What is your favorite day of the week? During college my favorite day of the week was Thursday because it was the unofficial start of the weekend. Of course once you start working Friday seems to be everyone’s favorite day. Saturday and Sunday’s are a no brainer! Nobody likes Mondays and let’s be honest, Tuesdays… Read more.