I was born and lived the early part of my life in Coos Bay, Oregon. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of Steve picking me up off the track and cradling me in his arms after I’d attempted to hurdle, like the big kids, during a summer track camp at Marshfield High School when I was six-years-old. Like him, I was a rebel.
Nearly everyone had already been picked up and my single, working mom was late, as usual and therefore nobody was there to tell me “No”. The two men up in the stands weren’t looking and I took off in a sprint without much regard for anyone else-it was better to seek forgiveness than ask permission. I biffed hard! I can still remember the crash, the skinned knee, bloodied and blackened by the track surface, and lying there crying in a heap, embarrassed and defeated. I also remember the way one of the men bolted from the stands and was at my side, scooping me up, with lightening speed, comforting and encouraging me, telling me he was proud of me for trying. I think that I have been wanting that in a man ever since.
Steve died a year, or so, later, but the legacy he left behind is one of the greatest in modern day history. He was filled with determination, verve, and heart. Winning was defined by him as a measure of his own willingness to punish himself beyond his body’s physical ability. His was a life well-lived. That state of mind is imperative to good health and is the foundation to mental, physical, and emotional strength. As he so famously said, “To give anything other than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Go Pre! And go YOU!!!