Run Life's Course

Run Life's Course
It's The Course and the Finish that Counts

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ray Lewis - My Motivation for The Superbowl Trip

For the past four weeks I have watched the Ravens with their exciting surprise victories over the Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos, and the "air about them" England Patriots after Ray Lewis announced his retirement from the NFL. It was like extra team effort, his influential motivation, and another step towards destiny were all in place.  At each interview, Ray cited some key biblical quotes that were at the time speaking directly to me based on what I had been going through these past four weeks. Mentally exhausted, fed up with last year's bad experiences, recently experienced unwarranted professional attacks, and continually having to face haters regularly, I felt Ray Lewis every time he said "No weapon formed against me shall prosper".  Here was a man passionately telling my testimony and what I was believing every day since the 2nd week of January to endure.

After I was pacing the floor in my living room during the Ravens  - Broncos game, I kept telling myself that I have to go to the Superbowl to support Ray Lewis if the Ravens pull out a win. And that they did, in OT.  Needless to say I was jumping up and down during that Patriots defeat and again felt Ray's proclamation. So I rushed between the Internet and the phone to make arrangements to get to New Orleans. The result - game tickets were too high, airline prices were exorbitant, available flights did not return me back in time, La Quinta Inns nowhere near the Superdome were $600/night and Marriott Courtyards on the strip were $2500/night.  I couldn't fathom spending the equivalent of three mortgage payments on a Superbowl trip even if Ray Lewis, himself, was footing the bill.  It just wasn't meant to be.

The next morning I wake up to see that a Patriots player's wife made, with a subsequent apology, heinous remarks about past false accusations and the family life of Ray Lewis. Yesterday I watched a clip of Boomer Esiason derogatorily bring up a past incident of which Lewis was exonerated completely and unequivocally over 10 years ago.  Once again, I was disappointed that I could not cheer him on against the haters. 

Since my long commute was adding on physical exhaustion in addition to the other anguish, I decided to check into a hotel near the office last night. The front desk assigned me to room 301.  It felt like a quarter mile walk from the elevator but I was too tired to change the room.  I turned on ESPN SportsCenter (one of the only few shows I watch) and checked my phone for recent tweets and saw hateful comments about Lewis.  I began searching for the reason why he was hated so much because I was in Atlanta for the Superbowl weekend of which the horrible events took place and remember vividly the case.  I watched all sorts of interviews of him, his hard core workout regimen with Monte Sanders, charitable efforts around Baltimore and beyond, and dedication to fatherhood. This dude had some twists and turns and overcame some serious challenges but he is running life's course.  I decided I would give a last ditch effort to get to the Big Dance.

In my room 301 (area code for the Maryland area), I found better game tickets almost on the field, specifically the goal post and tunnel for 50% cheaper on Row 8.  I was able to book airline tickets that fit my schedule and 65% cheaper than what they were two weeks ago.  I found one hotel room available in the entire French Quarter, two blocks from Bourbon, of which I was going to have to share with my friend. But it was reasonably priced compared to the others and convenient to everything including the Superdome. They sent me a confirmation and I knew I was in. I called my BMF of 13 years before retiring to bed and said "We're going to the Superbowl!"

This morning there was nothing these haters could say to me to impact my mood because internally my thoughts were "I am going to the Superbowl."  Two hours ago I received a call from the hotel asst. manager confirming my reservation.  Since I hadn't shared a room since college and I need peace of mind from my week with these haters, I thanked her for the accommodations and asked her if she had two rooms. She promised to put me on a waitlist if an additional room became available.  Thirty minutes ago, she called back and said they had a smaller additional room and would give me both rooms for only $100 more a night. Choked up and fighting back tears, because this is just unreal, I agreed and immediately God reminded me that He can pull anything together in the last minute and when you least expect it.

Ray Lewis and the Ravens, this NYer has your back.  I have renewed hope just because of this trip to the Superbowl. God is always able and these problems will soon pass. In the meantime, I have to go pack for a trip to New Orleans that was meant to be part of my life's course.

Monday, January 14, 2013

13 Miles Just Because - Mind Over Matter

Being an only child, solace is sometimes being siloed and it is where I operate the best and plan the most. New goals. Another marathon (26.2 miles) is not one of them, been there accomplished now more than 40 in 36 months. I am focused on full body, core strength and training, boxing, and dancing.  That equates to having lots of fun with only positive people around me.  No classes, no negative fitness instructors - only my trainer, Gregg Miele, boxing trainer, KG, and choreographer, Kennis, and my, myself, and I.

Today it's just me so I decided to whip out one of my blue Sauconys and see if I still had the ability to run semi-long distance. Miles 1-4 were a breeze.  Miles 5 - 6 I was thinking "you're almost there and you can quit after 6". After Mile 6 I was telling myself "You don't quit this. This is about you". Miles 7-9 I started enjoying the run and taking in the scenery. Miles 10 and 11 I started wishing I had more time to get in at least another 10 miles. Mile 12 was a coast. Mile 13 I felt like I hadn't accomplished anything.

That's the feeling of a marathoner at heart. Mind over matter.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My Guilty Dedication to Nike

Lets face it, Nike probably does not make the best athletic gear but they are the absolute in marketing brilliance in their industry and beyond. If you are a marathoner like me, Nike is not on the top list of shoes but their marketing campaigns make me feel like I  need to buy a pair of their shoes or at least their workout gear. But why do I feel the guilt?  It is because time again Nike has a forgiveness like no other when it comes to the so-called fallen athlete who has endorsed them in the past.

Tiger Woods, arguably the best golfer in the world, single-handedly brought excitement to the game of golf.  He brought more money to the sport than any other competitor. It was the right endorsement choice for Nike because viewership for any tournament Tiger participated increased with even the young  spectators.  That Nike swoosh was familiar and Nike Golf was here to stay. And when he had an overexposed fidelity issue, Nike got it.  It was a family issue and they stuck with him and that swoosh is still memorable today as he continues to be the best. 

Both Kobe Bryant, my favorite active NBA player, and Michael Vick ( the quarterback that has been throwing and running like a wide receiver way before RG III , Cam Newton, and Colin Kaepernick) had their issues. Nike let the dust settle and these athletes came back stronger with rebuilt images and a much larger consistent fan base that thirsts for their skills.  

Not only do I buy shoes, shirts, and paraphernalia, I have believed with Nike that everyone deserves a second chance. It reminds me of having true friends who stick by me through thick and thin. Now that's the best marketing any company can put together - forgiveness and dependability. I guess I am going to the Nike store today.