One person's thoughts may change the world
Just made contact with a friend that I have not spoken to in 29 years. We did our ROTC basic camp together at Fort Knox, Kentucky. We were bunk mates, we got through that hot summer of 1983 together. He was and is amazing individual, bold, outspoken, funny, introspective, intelligent, and a true friend that we both lost contact with each other, but not the memory of our friendship. Here is the first thing he text me after making contact:
Oh my God!!!! Tim! Jesus, man! How are you? Brother, I talk about you all the time! Your exploits in camp after dislocating your shoulder is one of my best stories of courage! This is great!
If you notice of the above line, he mentioned a word, a reoccurring theme of mine that I always talk about in some of my blogs. It’s the word I truly believe in, yet, as a coach, I have not figured out a way to teach it. That word is courage. I know what it is. Keith, my friend whom I am speaking of knows what it is as well. One of my constant quests in life is to find a way to teach it, bottle it, and pass it on to as many young people whom I have the opportunity to coach or talk to in life. Still searching for it, but wow, after all these years, it’s an honor that he remembers me in that manner, considering the high respect I have for him. I guess we both made an impression upon each other years ago, and we didn’t even realize it. Here is what happened.
On a ranger swim test, I jumped into a pool in full uniform blind folded holding my M16A1 off of a diving board. When I hit the water, the blindfold fell from my eyes and covered my mouth and nose. When I came up to get a breath of air, I couldn’t breath so I pushed my head back under water, and drove up hard with my right arm. When my arm broke the plane from water to air, my shoulder separated. I swam to the edge of the pool, finished passed the ranger swim test, but was in agony. Before came to camp, I was working out pretty intense, I was benching about 315lbsx5 back then so when it dislocated my shoulder muscles contracted severely. I was taken to the hospital, given some muscle relaxant, Valium, they popped my shoulder back in and I was returned to my platoon in a sling. That happened on a Saturday. That Monday, they sent me to the doctor to be evaluated and to be sent back home. I refused. I would not leave his office until he gave me a medical pass. He was an African-American doctor, he looked at me and smiled, “hmmmm, blood and guts huh?”. I responded, “No sir, I just want to finish what I started here, I want to graduate with my platoon”. He gave me my pass. I took that sling off after leaving the hospital and never put it on again. I finished the remaining four weeks of basic camp and graduated with my platoon.
I said all that to say that I can’t wait to catch up with my good friend Keith. Even after 29 years, the first words he said to me resonated. Made me think. This introspective brotha’s first words to me in 29 years inspired me. Not of what I did 29 years ago, but motivated me to have FAITH in order to teach COURAGE. Perhaps courage is something you have to experience and there is no empirical method to teach it at all…..