Almost thereOctober 27, 2012
Wow. What a season it’s been. Had you asked me in January what I would be saying in October, I would have imagined I’d be sitting here telling you about my comeback season of glory. What I am telling instead…. of one of the greatest seasons of my entire life, and it had absolutely nothing to do with my athletic performances. Or lack thereof.
Last Saturday evening I had the honor…. and I mean honor…. of receiving the Melissa’s Living Legacy/ Teens Living With Cancer Make A Difference Award. I stood in front of 400 people and I accepted this award on behalf of all of YOU. What we did this season we did together. This was not a ME award, this was a WE award. WE … TOGETHER… made a difference to the teens of Teens Living With Cancer.
I looked out over the crowd of 400 as I gave my speech. Teens who had survived cancer. Parents who lost heir teens to cancer…. and all of the supporters. In the back of the room were several blown up pictures of myself and the teens with Lance Armstrong. He was part of this, and we remain grateful to him for what he did for us.
I have been asked what I think about this Lance Armstrong stuff. I remain strong in my original statement. You can read that right here. Lance Armstrong will remain on my blog header up there, and we will continue to be proud of the work that we did with him. If we had the chance to do it again…. we sure as hell would.
As I made my way through the crowd that evening it was of course, a topic of conversation. In speaking with many of the parents… one theme was strong and crystal clear. “Unless you have stood at the grave of your child, you don’t understand what it’s like on this side of the fence.”
And that’s the God’s honest truth. I am not speaking for anything regarding Mr. Armstrong…. except what he did for us.
Watch this video. I want you to pay attention to the two young men in it. The boy with the winter hat….. his name is Charlie. the boy with the piercings… his name is Mike.
Both of these teens…… are dead. I have known Charlie’s parents for a while now. Every time I speak to them I wonder how in the world they are even getting dressed in the morning. How they have hope in life. How they go on. Yet they do. They smile, they are involved in this cause. They, like Lauren and Doug and too many others….. turn their grief into dedication for others.
Two people shyly came up to me at the end of the evening. they introduced themselves as Mike’s parents (Mike is the one in the video with the piercings. He has also since died). The grief they still feel was evident. Tears came easily. They expressed how Mr. Armstrong had been a source of hope for Mike and how he would have loved to have been a part of the kick off.
This is not drama. This is real and unless you have been on this side of it you don’t truly understand. I hate this side of it and I love it at the same time. You don’t get it unless you’ve been here.
My 2012 season was a bit of a bust, for many reasons. I knew that coming into it. I am elusive about and I know it. When the time is right I will share the story. Sometimes you have to walk right through the fire….. get to the other side….. and allow the burns to heal before you tell the story. It’s also insignificant, not a big deal. Just a road bump and I am almost to the end of it.
There are people who have written me off. Mocked me. Some of my own have given up on me. That’s the easy thing to do when someone is enduring something beyond their control. Call them … over. Instead of asking what’s up…. judge. Assume. Give up. Instead of just asking if you are ok.
Little do they know…. little does anyone know…… the underdog is the position I love to be in. That I thrive to be in. Tell me I am over, tell me I am off my game and I will rise and I will rise higher.
I have a small circle of those in the know, and they’ve been my rock. We stay quiet, we work forward and we keep dreaming big. That’s what I learned from these teens. You get written off before you have the chance to thrive. If you are weak you will allow them to do that to you. But if you believe in yourself and what you are capable of….. then they can not place those limits on you.
To those who have always stood by me…. you know who you are….. I can’t thank you enough.
One more small hurdle and we are full on. Things to this point have been coming around and coming around well. I have my feet back underneath me. I have a team of those who believe in me. Most importantly I believe in myself.
And when the smoke clears……. well….. I will let that do the talking.