This guy right here has been an inspiration from day one. People ask where do I get my grit, determination, and perseverance from? It’s from pops.
He removed the word ‘can’t’ from my vocabulary, taught me my never give up attitude, and if there’s a will there’s a way. When I was 6 weeks old I was literally crop dusted possibly causing my severe asthma. Having to use a nebulizer for 15 minutes before going out to play with my siblings was torture. Being told I wouldn’t be able to be an active child caused a chip on my shoulder very early on which is still there. My dad, Jeff, never let the asthma deter me, put me in many sports and pushed me too my limits and beyond. Proving to me anything is possible with the right mindset.
Dad taught me from day one, once you start something you better finish, no matter the circumstances. He knew life has its highs and lows… its rollercoaster movement which easily transferred to the world of sports. His teachings, scolding me when I said can’t, and believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself molded me into who I am today.
When I injured my wrist, in St. Louis, I knew I would continue. My first thought was: “At least it’s not my ankle, but I hope it is not broken.” Anyone who knows my childhood and athletic career knows this injury could have been expected. As well as, riding 250 miles with an ace bandage. Throughout my sporting career I have had: a broken ankle, broken fingers, concussions, dislocated elbow, torn hamstring, numerous stitches and staples, tongue half bitten off, both meniscus removed, Osgood Slaughter and more, I learned to wrestle and play through pain.
During the rough days dad was there to give advice, help me put in extra practice time, and give encouraging words. The good days he congratulated me, not without his coaching and lectures, of course, but never let me be content. He instilled a drive and fire within that is unmatched.
Many people told me, “You made it 3800 miles and crossed 3/4th of the country why not stop and let your wrist heal and get surgery?” Well, if I stop now, in my mind, my mission would have failed and the people donating to my cause should be reimbursed. I set out on #5000milesfor500scholars just for that: Ride 5000 miles and help 500 scholars. Not 3800 miles to help 380 scholars.
In life we will always have a setback. How you bounce back, to me, determines how much heart, love, and passion you have for the intended goal. If one can easily give up, obviously, the task was not their passion. Bouncing back doesn’t necessarily mean completing the task at hand, but picking yourself up, brushing off the dirt, and how your attitude/mindset is moving forward. I tend to fall often… literally and figuratively. However, I am blessed because I know no matter how long the fall there will always be a hand extended from above. Pop’s hand.
Even though dad and I disagree on many things, the love I have for him is unmatched. He makes it clear he wants me home in the US, but his love and support for my goals and dreams has never wavered. Anything I set my mind to, whether he likes it or not, he is always by my side as a number one supporter.
Little did he know the many summer hours playing ball, cutting wood, shoveling the basement (that was not a passion so never got completed), sitting by the fire telling stories would stick with me.
When I had trouble finding a ride to Ohio he dropped his weekend plans to drive me so I could continue. We stayed up last night talking, telling stories, and celebrating world whiskey day. Through our many conversations at the fire and last night I now know where I get my stubbornness, hard headedness, and grit. As they say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
As I had a set back, breaking my wrist, now in a cast, it does not compare to the daily struggle many youth in Cameroon have. Difficulties for basic school supplies, lack of buses to transport to school, no electricity to study at night, not being able to pay fees to attend school, not able to purchase basic medical necessities such as sleeping nets to help prevent malaria, and the list goes on and on.
Just like I have a hand reaching down from pops, I try to be the hand that extends for the youth of Cameroon.
Let us join hands and extend them to reach far more corners of the world!!
This is how I continue to ride with a wrist needing surgical repair.
This is what #5000milesfor500scholars is about.
This is why your donations mean so much.
This is how you can help “Supply today to secure tomorrow”