On July 8th of this year, I celebrated an important milestone in my life — my 30th birthday. Turning 30 is a landmark in everyone’s life. It’s a time to reflect, evaluate, cry, and keep it pushing. So when my birthday passed, I was was intent on moving on quietly. I had no reason to revisit the fact that I was getting older, especially as an athlete.
Then on August 19th, something really cool happened.
I was back on the east coast with my family for two weeks to visit my hometown, attend some friends's weddings, and do a little training in Philadelphia. My dad, who is a foreman for a large construction company in the tristate area, told me that his company was having a large annual celebration to honor the founders of the company and their successes. He said it would be a formal event, and the company had requested that all of the attendees wear white. I thought, “Sweet! I get to look fly and go celebrate my dad and all of his success at work. Sign me up.”
The day of the party arrives, and we get all dressed up — my wife and I love to get fancy if you can’t tell. Someone really smart once said — “There's no such thing as being overdressed.” We agree. So as we headed into Philly, we realized we were a little early, so instead of parking and going inside, my dad decided to drive around the city for a little bit. This should’ve been my first hint. But I just thought he wanted to be fashionably late. He looked pretty good too, so maybe he wanted to make an entrance.
We finally pull up to Hotel Monaco and Valet. As we walk into the hotel, we ask about a private party that was being held at the hotel and they informed us that it was being hosted on the top floor. So we take the elevator to the top and walk out onto this incredible rooftop patio — The Stratus Lounge. Now here’s the one thing that threw me off. As we were walking up to the entrance of the party, my parents turned around and waved me ahead of them. I was confused. “Wait this is your party Dad, why would I go first? I don’t know anyone here.” But they insisted. I’m still clueless. So as I walked into the door, I immediately stepped to the side to allow for my wife and parents to come in behind me.
“SURPRISE”! I still had no idea what was going on. “What did I do?” I thought. But as my eyes scanned the room, I started to notice people I recognized. I saw family, friends, teammates, and coaches, many of whom had traveled far to be there. My wife pointed at me and said, “Love, this is all for you.” It finally settled in. All of my people in one room. I was shocked, but incredibly excited.
My wonderful wife had gathered 60 of my closest friends and family to help me celebrate thirty years in one of the most beautiful settings in Philly. Amazing. It was truly one of the best nights of my life.
I must admit, before the party I was pretty bummed about turning 30. But after my party, and the joy that surrounded me that night, I had the opportunity to take some time to reflect. So here’s my conclusion — Getting older doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s a life thing. You can either combat it with futility, or embrace it with grace. As a young man, I prided myself on all that I had accomplished at a relatively young age. And as I look back now, I realize there were a lot of things that I’d hoped to accomplish before 30 that I haven’t yet. But I also realize that 30 isn’t a period in my life, just a comma. It’s a new era — one in which I’m still intent on doing all of the things I set out to do long ago. No number can change that. Life goals have no timeframe, and new seasons bring new hope. God has made everything beautiful in it’s time, and I’m confident that I’m being refined as I go.
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America was once one of the greatest wrestling programs in the entire world. Someplace along the way we've lost our luster. How do we return to prominence?
A straight-up beast. At least, that’s my description of him. Of course, I may be a bit biased since I’ve known him for the last five years. I’ve watched him train like a mad man. I have wrestled him on countless occasions. I once watched him do a set of 10 dips with a 90-pound dumbbell attached to a belt around his waist. He’s the stuff of a legend. So why have so few wrestling fans known about him until lately?
What happens when life collides with wrestling? My son Beacon was born two weeks early on July 19th, 2014 at 9:01 am. Dad made it just in time. Beacon’s original due date was August 3rd. In preparation for the World Championships, our national team usually chooses a tournament in late July or early August to compete in as a tune-up event.