At first I was a little nervous having my first post be on such a sad note but then I realized how perfect this was. My grandpa was my greatest inspiration. He was my hero and I idolized him. He was the person that molded my athletic career and as my running career first began taking off, he was the one I always looked to. He was the strongest man I ever knew. Even at 70 he could do things that even some college athletes couldn’t do. In addition he left an impact on so many people’s lives. Being at the calling hours and funeral this past weekend I heard stories I had never heard. Stories about the way he helped people and the accomplishments he had along the way. His life was admirable and it was just the life he wanted. He and my grandmother never had much but they gave what they had to help others and I will forever cherish this.
My grandfather believed in hard work. He was tough and pushed his players so that they could meet their potential. He truly loved each and every one of his players and wanted them to succeed both in life and on the field. In my career he would go out of his way to help me succeed. I could see the joy in his face when he got the chance to coach me and witnessed the happiness he felt when he got to see me race. He presented me with my first state championship ring and I feel honored more than ever knowing he was so much more than just the man I knew as Grandpa.
Now in the post collegiate realm unsure of my ability to run professionally I feel even more driven to make it because of my Grandfather. The last thing he said to me was, “When I get better I am going to come down there and see you race.” I always get choked up when I think about this but then I remember where he is now. He is in a place where he is happy and healthy and can be at each and every one of my races. He is in heaven and at peace with God. From here on out my 10k life will be in tribute to him.
2/2/2014 RIP Grandpa Gerald: My Hero Forever.