There are some people you meet in this world who make you take a deep breath and reflect on yourself. People who have overcome incredible odds, who never stop moving forward, who never refuse to quit, who simply are an inspiration because of their outlook on life.
I'm lucky enough to call one of those people brother and I want to tell you why.
With the recent release of The Season: RUSH, I wanted to write something to explain a little of my inspiration. Some of you may know that I'm a huge hockey fan. Back in 1999, when the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup, I was standing in front of the giant projection screen television (the kind that took up half the room) in my parents' living room, jumping up and down for joy. There might've been a few shots to celebrate afterward, too. It was beyond amazing. I was hooked on hockey, no doubt about it.
Skip forward a couple of years to when my youngest brother was in high school. He decided he wanted to play hockey. A goalie, in fact. The coolest position on the team, if you ask me. So, my parents told him to go for it. And let me tell you, he did.
Not only did my brother play hockey when he was younger, but he also played basketball and any other sport that struck his fancy. Nothing could stop the kid.
Okay, now on to my point of this story.
At a very, very early age, he had surgery - which required the doctors to lengthen the muscles and tendons in an effort to get his feet to move into a more normal position. He spent years in casts and corrective shoes.
And he has never let his foot be his crutch, so to speak. My brother is completely comfortable in his own skin and that is something that I truly admire about him. So many times, people try to hide the qualities that make them unique. They try to convince themselves that their differences don't exist and hope others don't realize they do. Not my brother. He knows his limitations, but he works to be stronger, go faster, do more than most people who haven't been in his shoes.
And that, my friend, is real inspiration.
My brother had prosthetic inserts for his shoes for a long time, which helped to some degree. They didn't alleviate the pain, though. Just recently, he found someone who actually designs a brace that helps his weaker foot to hold more of his weight. It has taken him some time to relearn how he's done certain things throughout his life (running, jumping, etc), and I have to say, his smile is brighter than ever. The guy's incredible.
Of course, my brother is still anxious to get back out on the ice again. I don't think it'll take much considering his son Mason is more than ready to follow in his dad's footsteps.