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The Finish Line

I am absolutely exhausted…a week long beach vacation really takes it out of you!

Now most of you are probably scratching your head already…and I am only one line in(usually it takes at least a paragraph.) But hear me out on this one. Vacation is supposed to be a week of relaxing right? That’s what most (sane) people do…get to a beach, grab some Coronas and limes and hope that the Sun doesn’t fry them as much as the shrimp is that they eat for dinner. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve done the beach vacation with Coronas and it is great! I’ve also gotten fried to a crisp too many times to count…not near as fun.

But the vacation I just got back from was a quintessential Stuckey vacation and driving back today made me think of a quote that one of the greatest people I know once told me. This quote is really a life mantra that I try to apply to everything I do and that was definitely applied this past week on vacation.

This post isn’t just about this one life mantra though, it is more about the person that not only told me about this mantra once, but has also taught me more than he knows about life and how to lead it.

“When I leave this Earth, I do not want to leave it as a preserved relic. I want to come screaming into the finish line able to say ‘that was one hell of a ride!'”

Now that quote is probably slightly altered from the original…but if you’ve known me for more than a week then you know that quote explains a lot about me. When I text everyone at 6:30am after a late night out it isn’t just because I have a screw loose upstairs. it’s because I am trying to take advantage of every single moment I have. I am not crazy enough to say that sleep is overrated, but when I have free time I want to maximize all of it (shameless plug, go read my last blog post! Time is a gift we have all been given.)

The quote also explains why we do what we do on vacation. We are not a family that gets to the beach and does nothing all week. One of the first things we did was to rent bikes so that we could ride all over the Island. I played tennis twice at 8am in sweltering heat which was awesome. I threw softball and football with my Dad, bumped volleyball with my older sister, kicked the soccer ball with my little sister, golfed with my mom and sisters, and played Bocce Ball with the whole family. Doing all this relaxes me and exhausts me at the same time and I would have it no other way.

 

I only know one way to go about life and that is full speed ahead.

Now going about life with this somewhat reckless abandon carries plenty of risk. Taking risks is not easy at all but as Woody Hayes once said “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.” Taking these risks may leave you with some pain and scars and trust me, I have plenty of scars to prove that sentiment correct. But I would counter with one question.

Why leave anything left in the tank?

Alexander Rossi, a driver in the Indy Car racing series had quite a bold strategy for this years Indy 500 race, especially considering he was a rookie. He decided not to pit late in the race and try to stretch his gas out till the end of the race. Spoiler alert, he was the one drinking the milk at the end of the race as the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The guy that came in second place doesn’t get bonus points for having more gas in the tank.

Now applying this logic to somewhat trivial things such as softball or an Indy race may not seem like it applies to real life. In the grand scheme of things rec league softball and even the Indy 500 doesn’t really matter near as much as so many other things in the world. But I would ask that if you can’t give your absolute best effort and go full speed ahead in some of the more trivial things in life, how are you going to be able to give everything you have when life demands it? At that point anything less could mean catastrophic failure and might mean that you don’t make it to the finish line.

So go out there and give everything you have in life. It may seem like your efforts are not appreciated as much as you think they should be, do it anyway. On the same token, love with all of your heart. You may be left feeling  empty but that risk is absolutely worth taking.

Now back to the person who first told me the quote at the start of the post and contributed to many of my world views. This person is not only one of my role models, but one of my best friends. I have learned so much from him that he probably does not realize how much he has taught me.

This person is my Dad.

So on this Father’s Day I wanted to give him a little gift to let him know that I have been listening to him and have learned quite a bit from him also!

My dad once told me that there would be things that I would see him do that I would want to emulate later in life, and that there would be some things I would see him do that I would never want myself to repeat as an adult. I can honestly say that if I pick up on half of the things that my dad does that I will be proud of the man I have become.

After reading a letter from a father about a rape that his son committed, and being just plain sickened by what that kid did and father had to say about it, I realized how fortunate I am to have such a great father.

He has never excused any behavior of mine that was not first class. He has taught me to respect women(seems like a no brainer) and has taught me what it means to be a real man.  He has taught me the value of hard work and also shown me what it means to give everything I have in life. For that and much more I am forever grateful to him. Happy Father’s day Dad, I love you!

He also raised me as a Buckeye, so as always…GO BUCKS!