I’m tired

During a phone call with my dad this evening he pointed out I hadn’t posted in a while. The long and short of it is I am tired. Reaching that point of the semester with teaching/coaching/recruiting that I am exhausted.

So as I sit here on my treadmill getting up the motivation to run I look back a few hours into my day when my girls were so spent that they had to drag themselves out of the water.

I feel as long as I am putting other humans through such tortures I should be no exception.

My legs hurt. My knee is sore as shit. My hip is out of alignment. My back feels like someone took a whip to it. My shoulders are in no way pleasant. And most difficultly my mind is broke at the moment.

But that’s why I have to stand up, go for a run, finish homework, and put some words on the page before I sleep.

My father made sure I was stronger than life. So I run, and as I run I’m reminded of the words of my good friend Tim Smith as spoken as he drug my dying ass on a run around Wilkes-Barre during out masters… “every runner is running toward something or away from it.”

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Fear of change

Writing again during set rest so please forgive any typos. Turns out when I’m working out I think about my time with my dad growing up. Likely cause I logged hours upon hours of training with him for Iron Mans and that sorta such.

Today’s lesson is my dad always explained to me that everyone is afraid of change, but you can’t let that fear stop you from doing something.

I see a lot of people in my day to day life paralyzed by this fear. People in unhealthy relationships afraid to leave because the unknown is scarier than staying. People miserable with their day to day work existence. Again easier to stay than leap.

From the time until I was born until retirement my dad worked for 8 different companies(sorry if I miscounted dad) and until the end of his work history most those moves were done with a large factor of uncertainty. He gave up a safe but lower ceiling for a risky but higher ceiling move. Though I’m sure he was stressed over if he’d be able to provide for my sisters and I and make sure he continued to progress forward I never once saw that side.

A lot of times I’ve been debating large moves in my life I’ve consulted with him, and one of the things he usually preaches is make a smart choice but do it quick. The longer you thing the more likely you are to stay where you are.

Had it not been for this instilled trait of accepting fear of change I likely would never have had the stubborn courage to pursue writing and college coaching.(possibly wishes he didn’t do such a good job with this lesson)

But when I came to my current position I interviewed on a Wednesday started on a Monday. I left my state to another one with my car, a sleeping bag, a backpack of clothes, and the stubborn knowledge that if I kept moving forward it would all work out.

So if you’re not happy with your life embrace the fear. Do something new. Take that leap and just keep moving forward. You’ll make it work.

Mediocre

Been a while folks…I’m still here…with my return from the shadows I’ve got a lesson from my father.

I was going through a lot of decision making this summer and my dad as always was a primary sounding board.

One day though he gave me a nice reminder.

He told me he didn’t care what I was, a coach, a teacher, a writer, sales rep, or anything but he didn’t raise me to be mediocre.

I was always taught that if I’m going to do something I out work everyone else at it. Better to not do something than to not do it well.

That reminder that mediocre isn’t in my genetic make up was the kick in the ass I needed to get back into the fight of life.

So as I write this post between sets in the weight room before I go to teach, I challenge all you not to be mediocre today. Step up to whatever challenges come looking for you today.

Whatever you do…just dance

So I normally do lessons from my father. Forgive some latitude as I take it back a generation to my grandfather, Pete senior.

Around a decade ago I had a college social to attend with an out of town significant other. That out of town was Bloomsburg which is where my grandparents lived. Being a starving college kid there were few things better than a home cooked meal from your grandmother so I took the time to go see them for lunch.

While we sat there and I tried to awkwardly explain a college track team social as if it was a high school dance and not a bunch of college kids getting dressed up to drink(which I realize now they likely saw right through) my grandfather seemed relatively uninterested in the story.

But then he leaned over the table and with a stern finger pointed at me said, “whatever you do…”

At this point there’s a number of ways this can go not one of my predictions was right though.

…”just dance. Make sure you dance because if you don’t dance you’re no one.”

Now my grandfather ran his own junkyard his entire life. Like many of his generation a tougher man than I can ever hope to be.

Just dance.

After I brought my jaw up from the floor and listened to him and my gram debate dancing today vs dancing now his attention came back to me.

“Your girl wants you to dance. She wants you to be part of something. If you don’t dance you’re nothing.”

This talk has always stuck with me. And I wish I could say at that moment the light bulb went off and I never sat out another dance the rest of my life. But I’ve sat out a number of dances in my life, a number of experiences, all because I was afraid to be a fool. Worried about how I’d look to others.

The older I’ve got, the more mistakes I’ve made, the wiser I’ve become.

But I understand those words now in my life more than ever. Be in the moment. Be part of life. Be something.

And don’t forget to dance.

Spartan

Growing up my dad was s triathlete, and if you’ve read some of my earlier lessons from my father you’ll know young me trained beside him. I was well outside the ranges an average seven year old would do.

I was able to do this because my dad convinced me I could. Usually it went something along the lines of you’re a Kassab and we descended from x which makes us stronger than y. Or you’re a machine/animal. So of course I could do more than the a stage human.

One of the greatest feats of will I ever witnessed was my dad did the Floridian Ironman in just under 12 hours, put me, my sisters and mom in our station wagon and drove straight back to Pennsylvania.

These things remind me now in my graying age that I can still achieve beyond my potential as long as I have the will to do it. The only thing that can ever stop me is myself.

Enjoy your rotations

Enjoy your rotations. Haven’t done one of these in a while, sorry dad. But welcome back to lessons from my father.

This one isn’t an old one but a newer one. I talk with my dad most days. And seek his advice on most things, regardless of if I listen or not.

There’s been quite a few things come my way this past month that I’ve sought his counsel on. Almost each of those ended with him telling me that I needed to enjoy my rotations around the sun and that none of us have guarantees. Time will only get faster as I get older.

I definitely have an appreciation for that adage, and think it’s a wise one for all.

You don’t stop til the job is done

Today I wasn’t feeling my run. I had originally planned it to be an off day but a friend gave me Christmas cookies yesterday and well I don’t have Christmas cookies this morning so had to do something about it.

Today’s run sucked. Six miles I didn’t want to do and at times dropped back to a walk. But I don’t stop until the job is done. (Actually writing this on my cool down walk)

That doesn’t just go for workouts and the first time I realized just how instilled Tis was in me was when I started helping other people move.

I’ve held 18 different addresses in my life. There’s been a lot of adventures and in that time I got very good at moving. Many of those moves were with my father and usually it was done on our backs(thank you to the friends who shared that burden over the years)

Moving with my dad there wasn’t rest. Rest was when you got to sit in the truck on the drive back to get the next load. You kept your food and liquids there. No pizza or beer breaks. Pick things up put them down repeat until the job was done.

I use to think he was crazy until I started helping others move and would grow impatient at the down time. Most times any more my condition of helping comes with getting to run the operation(likely another thing I picked up from the old man).

But it’s not just the physical. It’s my life. I will fail. I have failed. And I will fail many, many more times. But it’ll never be because I was out worked.

Cool down is coming to a close and there is work to be done so I will wrap this up by saying thanks Dad(since you might be the last religious reader of this blog anyhow) and sorry I wasn’t there for this move. I’ll owe you one.

Push Through

Most people who know me wouldn’t describe me as emotional. My sisters though will tell you it was very easy to make me cry when I was a kid. I have a extremely low confidence level, sometimes I can fake it well, but even then I lack the confidence to believe that I am really confident.

When I was a kid, I want to say 4th grade, I was on an undefeated soccer team, and I was 1 of 2 goalies. My dad was my soccer coach at the time, which meant I had double to pressure to not screw up. If the coach’s kid is a goalie and he doesn’t do well it doesn’t take long for the rumbling to be he’s only there cause his dad is the coach.

I had, unarguably the most successful season of goalieing I ever had in my life. The stories I am told are that I was never scored on in the entire fall season, I can’t remember it with much certainty, but we can go with that. I usually played the first half and the other goalie played the second.

At the end of regulation it was a tie game. I had been out of the cage for half the game and expected to not have the pressure of a shoot out against me. That is when good old dad decided I’d take the shootout(other goalie was a much better shooter than I was).

I walked over to my dad and what I thought was going to be an intelligent defense turned into water works. I was scared. The teams undefeated season rested on this shoot out. These were my friends and everyone knows it is the goalie’s fault when you lose.

Mi padre pulled me aside,(as I have taught every goalie I have trained in my life you cannot show emotion to your opponents) and looked me in the eye and said its okay to be scared. Whenever you do something for the first time you’re going to be afraid. I’m not putting you in because you are my son, but because it’s the best chance of winning.

We won.

Still to this day I get scared shitless before I embark on something new. On my way to my first day of college I threw up. I spent two hours in my car wondering what I was doing when I went back for my masters. Most recently when I moved out of my comfort zone to take a job below the poverty line to move forward with a career. Scared-shitless.

But I know that if I push through the first initial fear of the unknown great things await.

tWain

Never Use a Urinal in Hostile Territory

It was the eve of my first ‘meet me at the flag pole’ fight, which never came to pass. The flag pole was a local park, and the night before my dad was giving me a few pieces of advice. There are a number of gems in that advice that will likely find their way into other.

The piece I will discuss today was to not use the urinal if I needed to take a leak. I was roughly 12-13 at this point and time and had never given any thought to how vulnerable you are at a urinal. Pants down, hand occupied, back to the world. You’re just asking for a very embarrassing sucker punch.

Though the fight never happened, the lesson remained.

Whether it be a figurative or literal urinal I do my best in life to never expose my back to a threat. You can’t avoid every fight that comes your way, but it goes a lot better when you can see the hit coming.Urinal