Andy’s Graduation and Training Updates

I sit here in a very quiet house on a night really no different from so many others I’ve had over this past year and I catch myself thinking and looking for answers to many questions I have about my boys, my family or lack thereof in PA, and my own life and the goals I seek now that I’m midway thru 2011.  But all that pales in comparison to Andy’s graduation from Naperville Central High School this eve.  The ceremony was held outdoors in the stadium under the threat of heavy and severe thunderstorms that, according to good friend Lisa, were about 90 minutes out at 630pm.  After parking illegaly on a side street, I managed to get into the stadium and stand atop the wooden steps at the end of the home side bleachers.  The kids were filing in and I had eyes on Andy across the way as he texted me on his way into the stadium.  The winds picked up but i was prepared, despite the gorgeous afternoon we had, I had several jackets and rain gear in the likely event it rained and the temps dropped.  I waved to Andy as he sat on the field and I was oblivious to those around me.  Not sure if he saw me, but thats when I had the silent realization of the pride that I felt for Andy on this night, his graduation from High School.  A feeling I’ve felt, no doubt, with his two older brothers, but Andy is my youngest and will turn 18 in July.  I’ve shared several conversations with Andy this past year as he made his way thru his Senior year and I’m proud that he’s been accepted at WIU, where his brother Brandon attends and that he will major in law enforcement and also enter the Marine Corps Officer Training program.  Andy also trained with me at X Sport on many days during the winter and he also has completed the 9 Minutes of Movement Drill, a feat replicated by only a few of my seasoned clients.   Andy is my most active athlete both in cross country and track and seeing him run this year was always inspirational.

They actually did the presentation of the diplomas first in light of the approaching weather.  The winds picked up and it was getting cold.  I could see that Andy and many of the kids were freezing, so typical of our weather patterns around here.   I managed to see Andy up close as he filed on up to the stage where he got his diploma and then returned to his seat.   The student speeches were brief and a text from Andy indicated he’d meet me on the field right after the fireworks.   I patiently watched as the bleechers emptied ahead of the approaching storm….some do still get scared I guess, but I held my ground atop the wooden steps snapping what pics I could from afar and trying to remember which pocket i had my cell in.   Andy met me afterwards and after a good handshake and a hug, I told him I loved him and that I was so very proud of him.  We hustled back into the school where he picked up his real diploma and where he was soon greeted by so many of the friends he’s gone thru school with over the years.  After a few moments in the field house, I realized that my role at graduation was now complete and like Bambi’s dad in the forest, i was ready to retreat back to the high ground where I will forever keep an eagles eye on Andy and his brothers, Christopher and Brandon, knowing full well they have a vision for success and that their lives are trully their own.  Wishing Andy the very best this eve was a reaffirmation of my faith and belief that Andy and his brothers will do very well for themselves, inspired by good people, some of whom are readers of this very blog, who impacted not only my boys with their friendship but so many other countless young people every single day and which seems to be inherent in so many of the people that Andy and the others have met the last couple years on many of my rides.

The field house was beginning to get a bit crowded and I sensed Andy wanted to hook up with his friends so I gave him a wink and congratulated him again and quietly made my way out of the school and back to my car.  As the rain came down and the lightning lit up the sky, I was reminded again of the awesomeness of our universe and my silent prayer was simply a thank you to God for allowing this night to happen as it did and for blessing his mother and I with 3 great sons!   Its not always easy being dad with the pace of my schedule and that of the boys, but tonight was worth every moment of cold and wind that I endured because this chapter, the high school graduation, is now closed.   I love you Andy, you made me so very proud this evening.  Thanks for being there and in my life as you are.  I’ll see you at breakfast my young son…..

While my 2 hour plank just a week or so ago was by far one of the more difficult “long” planks that i’ve done, I was grateful for the support of so many clients and friends who stayed with me for the duration while I belted out songs with labored breathing in order to somehow minimize the agony of getting to the 2 hour mark.  It was done and for good reason because I’ve since learned that GWR does indeed recognize the plank now as a stand alone event and the current GWR is 19 minutes and 58 seconds set in the UK on Dec 4, 2010.  The rules as set forth by GWR require absolutely no movement for the duration of the plank as well as some others which are not unlike that which I’ve already thought of.  I’ve tested myself with no movement so much so that I’m confident I can set a new GWR for the plank, which I intend to do in the near future.   Its clear that my super long planks have indeed helped me to sustain shorter planks when no movement is required.  This Friday, I will again knock down a 2+ hour training plank in pursuit of setting the new GWR.  I am looking for a public venue to do this particular record and a charitable cause who might want to help support me in my endeavor.  If anyone has any suggestions, please dont hesitate to let me know.

Additionally, as many I think, already know, my GWR on the spin bike was broken nearly 2 weeks ago a Mr. Patrizio Sciorli in Italy who was certified by GWR on site with a time of 224:24:24, a mere 2 hours longer than my ride this past November.  I was made aware of his attempt by some Italian media folks who reached out to me via FB on my way back from Macomb last Thursday.  At least when I break records, I smash them by often setting a new mark far in excess of what the record was.   I’ve since spoken with members of the crew and certain others who’ve offered to be a part of any future attempt and I’m happy that I have their support.  I’ve made application with GWR for two claim numbers this past week, one for the plank attempt and for a re-attempt at the spin record.  Upon final sanctioning by GWR on both requests, I will make a formal announcement regarding plans for a re-attempt on the bike this Fall.  Its my gut that we will be reigniting the engines in order to pull off yet another spectacular ride on behalf of a worthwhile charity or organization.

I had a call from Brandon last eve on my way home from X Sport and he simply wanted to let me know that he got his grades in from WIU and he had straight A’s, this for the second semester in a row and most likely Deans List, again!  His performance this freshman year has been outstanding and I was quite proud of his effort and wanting to share it with me the other  evening.  Its been a long day and I have clients tomorrow so its time for the evening’s rest.  And I’ll think now of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and its meaning to me in light of Gunnar’s passing nearly a year ago.    More to follow…..


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