Overcoming adversity: It was a GREAT Day to be alive!
Today is my younger son’s 18th birthday and in honor of this, I’m going to re-publish an article that I ran in my offline Seductive Selling newsletter. This article comes from a column called “Tales From The Back-End,” which is a two-page editorial column that starts on the last page of the newsletter. Here goes:
If you’ve been with me for a while, then you’ve heard me mention my younger son Casey, on more than one occasion. He’s got a pretty unique story. He was a premature baby, weighing 3 pounds, 6 ounces at birth. As a result, he has a mild form of cerebral palsy. He walks with a limp – his legs look like they want to go one way and his body, the other.
Casey is a typical boy who’s growing up into a typical man in the sense that he loves sports. He’s always watching ESPN, and when he’s at work on Sunday’s (he’s a cashier at the local grocery store) he texts me for the scores and updates from the NFL games.
We never told Casey he had Cerebral Palsy or any other kind of condition, and so throughout his childhood, he always played sports. All kinds of sports from baseball and basketball, to tennis and martial arts and touch football.
When he was younger, his natural athletic ability was able to carry him and you really didn’t see too much of a difference between his performance and the other kids. However, as he’s gotten older, his condition has become more obvious, because his limbs have gotten longer (he’s 6 feet tall now, but because his limbs can’t fully extend, he stands closer to 5’11”).
And so the gaps in his performance have also become bigger.
Casey’s graduating high school this year and for the last four years he’s lettered in multiple sports. He swam for two years, and he’s wrestled and ran track all four years of high school.
Wrestling, in particular, has been his Achilles heel. First of all, the conditioning for wrestling is truly grueling. Most of the people who come out for the team, don’t make it. Not because they can’t perform, but because they can’t take the discipline that the training requires, and so they quit. They don’t have either the stamina or the courage to take the training required.
Ask anyone you know who played high school football, and they’ll tell you their training was nothing compared to what the wrestlers do. Anyway, nevertheless, Casey’s had no problem with the training and has wrestled all four years. The problem has been, in his first three years he only won ONE match.
Reality is, Casey wrestling is kind of like me playing against a professional basketball player from the NBA. I’m 5 foot 9 inches tall. So no matter how good I might be, there’s no way I’m ever going to win. And I probably wouldn’t even get to score any points, simply because of the huge physical advantage a professional basketball player has over me.
Yet, when I discuss this with Casey, he shrugs it off. He feels he just needs to “get better” and that his losses have nothing to do with his legs.
So what am I supposed to say to that? “No, you’re wrong?”
Of course not. I just keep supporting what he is doing, and praising him for his many accomplishments.
Now one thing you need to know about Casey is that his work ethic is second to none. In fact, I’d look anyone in the eye and tell them his work ethic when it comes to wrestling, and his passion for success, is not any different than mine is, with respect to my business. He’s the first one at practice every day after school, and he’s the last one to leave.
This year, however, things have gotten particularly difficult for him. In spite of the coach’s “rah rah” speech to the parents during the pre-season meeting, about how “I reward those folks who come to practice and work hard…” Casey was removed from his 135 pound slot, for a kid who just joined the team.
Not fair, for sure, but life’s usually not fair, right?
So Casey had a choice to make. He could either wrestle JV (junior varsity) at 135, or… he could cut his weight down to 130 and wrestle varsity. Cutting his weight down has never been a problem for him, before. Not that it’s easy, but he’s always been able to shave 5-8 pounds off rather rapidly. But this time the stakes were different.
See, Casey’s normal body weight is around 143 pounds. And so cutting back to 130 was NOT easy, by a long-shot.
He had to lose 13 pounds off his normal weight, bringing him down to probably somewhere in the below 5% body fat range. Not sure if you’ve ever had to do anything like this, but once you go below that 5% mark, it is incredibly difficult. Your body is literally starving, and when you add to this, daily strenuous workouts, it takes its toll.
And so, for the first time, Casey was really considering leaving the wrestling team. He felt he was being penalized. That asking him to get down to 130 was unreasonable, on top of the fact that he took Casey out of his regular 135 slot, for a “newbie.”
I told him he shouldn’t make any rash decisions and that he should think about what he wanted to do overnight. To “sleep on it.” And, that I’d support whatever decision he made because if this wasn’t fun anymore, it wasn’t worth his time anyway.
The next morning. he told me he was going to “give this one more shot,” and try and get down to 130, because he really wanted to wrestle in the tournament that was coming up the following weekend.
They had a “warm up” match the Wednesday before that, and he was hoping to be at 130 for that match, in preparation for the two-day marathon.
Wednesday morning came, and Casey was still a pound and a half over. So he went through the entire day without eating a thing, and then he went to practice and sweated his ass off, wrestling and then running extra laps in the hot Florida sun, to get down to his weight.
It paid off because at 2pm when he weighed in, he made weight by literally ounces!
Now appreciate watching Casey compete in any sport is gut-wrenching as a father. At these times, I’d like, more than anything else, for me to be able to “switch” with him. I wish he had my legs and I had his legs, because he is far more deserving of success than what he actually gets to enjoy.
So when he competes, you sit back and take a deep breath… you pray for the best… and you cheer him on like crazy. But you have to prepare yourself in advance for the fact that things aren’t likely to go the way you’d like them to, simply because the odds he’s facing, are huge.
One of the most enjoyable things, however, is that everyone knows Casey. And whether he wins or loses, everyone in the stands is usually cheering for him, and all the coaches on all the teams wind up hugging him. These are all unspoken acts of affection, all given in admiration for Casey’s courage. Again, speaking as a parent, this is something really special to experience. The importance and value of which is hard to put into words.
On Any Given Sunday…
As I’ve said umpteen times in business… when one door closes, usually another one is standing there waiting for us to open. The problem is, the pain and anxiety that accompanies the closing of the first door, isn’t pretty.
And in life, like in business, it’s often no different. Casey not being able to wrestle at 135 was a burden on him, but it was also, perhaps the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him. And here’s why.
On Wednesday, he wrestled in his mini-tournament. And out of the three matches he had, he pinned his opponent in one of them and he won his second match in four years.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t all choked up, watching him achieve victory. I was misty-eyed as I ran down from the stands after his match, to congratulate him. He was euphoric, and frankly so was I. I felt incredible watching how happy he was and all his teammates went nuts, slapping him high fives and picking him up in the air. The moment truly was… magical.
You know, often times when I’m in the gym, and I’m struggling to get my last rep or two done, I will usually picture Casey rounding his lap on the track. He runs the mile race and this visual usually gets me the extra energy I need to complete my set. Now I have another visual to go along with this.
Casey kept his weight down after the meet – this wasn’t easy at all, because it meant he really didn’t get to eat properly after Wednesday’s match — and he re-qualified to wrestle at the big tournament Friday and Saturday. And here’s what happened at this tournament.
On Friday, he had four matches. He again, won one of them by pinning his opponent, and he came damn close to winning another one. And on Saturday, the exact same thing happened. So here you have a kid who has experienced victory ONCE in three years, now experiencing it three times in four days. If I tell you watching this, to me, was like watching a miracle take place, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration.
The gift Casey gave himself these past few days, was a present long fought for and well-deserved. But the gift he gave to me – the opportunity for me to see him happy and proud of himself – was something I’ll treasure forever.
As each victory came, all I could think to myself that “Today is one of the greatest days of my life.” These are moments whose meaning can’t be explained, they can only be experienced.
And I am so grateful to Casey for letting both of us experience and share these moments. Each of these days, really was… a great day… to be alive.
Like I said, sometimes things happen and they’re really a blessing in disguise. You just gotta hang in there long enough, to figure out what that blessing is.
Here’s Casey winning one of his matches:
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. Discover the two defining moments in my life that made me who I am today, in the Introduction Chapter to my new book, “How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers,” which ships out immediately via US First Class Priority Mail and comes with a LIFETIME guarantee. This book reveals the exact strategies I used to make over $578,000 with a small handful of customers, along with Action Step Checklists so you can do the same thing in your business.
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