First things first, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you’re spending it wisely with those you love, as I am today. Having to make the tough choices this year certaintly aren’t easy, but they are right. Because I’m spending today with my immediate family only, I wanted to talk about them in depth to truly express how thankful I am, and share some perspective on our relationships through the years.
My mom, dad and brother have always and will continue to be my biggest supporters and rocks. A lot of these ideas and concepts I share here on this site blossomed from seeds of ideas planted in our conversations with each other through the years. “Family” is obviously a vital piece of the Super 8, and while I’ve alluded to it and referenced it throughout my posts, I haven’t fully dedicated a post to them until today.
Happy World Diabetes Day. There are a lot of aspects that have lead into this particular post, specifically that November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and that I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes two years ago to November 8th. For those that are newer here, or are still trying to break down the essence of this blog, not every post is on the same blatant topic, but rather the eight underlying values that tie my life together.
As I have said, I have many identities, as we all do. I’m a brother, son, friend, follower of God, NCAA student-athlete, baseball player, type 1 diabetic, among many other things to many different people. The things that allow me to be the best at each of those things are God, faith, prayer, family, education, sacrifice, character and discipline. Therefore, as I bounce between my experiences, lessons, and life, I can always fall back on those things, as I encourage you to do as well. All of those values are explained in my very first post to make them applicable to everyone, including ‘God’ and ‘faith.’
Today, I want to open up for the second time about my life as a Type 1. I originally told my diagnosis story a couple months ago, and if you’d like to go back to review, the link is below.
I’m inspired to write today, and I think the timing is perfect. As I expressed in last week’s post I have experienced all of the trials and tribulations of the COVID world on top of months and months of other stressors and variables in my life. As I have talked with family and friends over the last week, I have realized that I am not alone, and that some have it even worse than I right now.
So, what is my underlying theme here? What can I tell myself every day to remind myself that things are going to turn out alright? What do you need to hear that will get you through your struggles one day at a time?
It has almost been a month since I posted, as my last posts were the amazing story series. All of those individuals did an amazing job conveying their lives and perspectives, and really putting themselves out there. I’m extremely grateful for those people in my life. Cheers to that.
I haven’t posted in so long because I haven’t found anything to talk about. Honestly. Every day has felt like Groundhog Day, and any days that haven’t are little glimpses into normalcy that quickly get sucked back into the past. Wake up, eat, online class, practice, eat, schoolwork, eat, sleep.
When I have the privilege of seeing or talking to my parents on the phone, my dad often asks me, “What’s on your mind?” or “anything going on that you wanna talk about?” Most of the time, my answer is “not much,” or “no not really,” which is often times very true. I objectively do a great job of mentally staying in the moment. Just taking things how they are, one task at a time. Observing, watching, learning about the people and places around me. I’m just wired that way.
The eighth and final install of this series comes from somebody I never played with, but have been close to. Spencer Horwitz has always been a great resource for me, and I’m glad he opened up about his experiences.
Here is the last piece of what has been an incredible series…
“Growing up I was fortunate enough to attend a local private Episcopalian high school that was viewed as one of the top schools in the state. I loved every second of it. It was there where I learned how to carry myself and hard work would get you to where you wanted to go.
This post is especially cool to me. Earlier this week, Matt Marino, a friend of nearly seven years, reached out to me asking me why I started this. He asked me what my purposes and intents are, and as I explained to him, he really appreciated my goals, and felt compelled enough to share a story within the week.
I have a special respect for Matt and I’ve always been aware of and admiring of his dedication and appreciation for his mother. We were slated to play high school baseball together until he decided to support himself before college and get a full time job. Matt currently attends the University of South Carolina and is in the process of applying to take his talents to law school.
Tonight, story six, is one I didn’t expect. When I sent my high school baseball coach, Ryan Wolfsheimer (Coach Wolf), the scoop for doing a story, I didn’t even think about this piece of his life. But I certainly remember it vividly. As much of a figure Coach Wolf is in the community, people don’t always realize the humane side of such figures.
We all go through spurts of time that we can’t control, but here’s how Coach Wolf turned to faith to build his family…
“My cell phone is ringing at 5:15pm on Friday March 11th, 2016. It’s Ashley, my wife, calling me as I’m finishing up practice and preparing for a scrimmage the next morning at Patterson Mill High School. I say to the coaches walking off the field with me, “Why is she calling me??? She knows I’m on the field. So I answer the phone even though part of me wanted to decline the call and send her to voicemail. “Hey dear, what’s up? I’m heading in from practice, what’s the deal?” That’s when I heard Ashley say, “The baby’s heartbeat stopped…”
For the fifth story I heard from the legendary Shea Swingle. She is truly exactly how she describes herself here, as the ‘responsible one.’ Shea welcomed me to Radford originally with open arms, and I quickly got to learn what made her such a positive force amongst her peers.
Since graduating, Shea has been pursuing a Masters Degree in speech pathology in George Washington’s graduate program. The Northern Virginia native spoke on trust for us, something she has learned through her young adult life.
“I’ve always been one that tries to predict what will happen next in my life. Avoiding situations that I feel could lead to negative consequences, predicting how others will react in response to my actions, typically playing it safe in regards to “major” life decisions. But as I get older, I find this is one of my best and worst qualities.
Today’s fourth story comes out right after 8:00 where our fourth guest is living out in Nashville, Tennessee. This is a summarized life story of how Steve Ross learned to reach self-actualization. Just as he has always been supportive of me and my career, he is one of my favorites. His CD is always in my car player, and now his story is on my blog.
“I’ve got a question for you. Are you self actualizing? Are you working on being a better version of yourself? Well, I can tell you, it’s never too late. My life’s journey has had way too many twists and turns to cover in this short story. Suffice to say I came from an extremely volatile background. One filled with death, abuse, alcoholism, lack of faith and betrayal. I never knew my mother, my father passed when I finished college and my brother took his life before he reached his 30th birthday. I spent the better part of my life in survival mode, trying to piece together some semblance of normalcy.
I wanted to put this third story out earlier in the day today to give it enough time to resonate. I think it’s the most detailed and impactful account so far. When I created this week-long initiative, I did so with people like Lauren in mind. Lauren Miceli is my oldest first cousin, and she stepped up to tell us a story that I genuinely believe to encapsulate all eight values.
Here is her beautiful story about one of my personal heroes…
“It has always been my dream to be a Mom, to raise amazing little humans, teach them to be kind, compassionate, and hardworking people and to watch them make their mark on this world. Family mealtimes, bedtime stories, time spent together learning and growing and making memories, it was all those simple joys that excited me the most.