Every month, I am honored to receive e-mails about my column in Triathlete Magazine. This month, I must have hit a nerve, because I received hundreds of e-mails from readers sharing with me their stories about their Dads, their lives and their dreams. Every one was amazing. Below you will find one of them from Russell Staker.
p.s. Send me your thoughts or reflections anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Staker, Russell
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 2:56 PM
To: Mitch THROWER; email@example.com
Subject: Hey Mitch, What Are You Going To Be Today?
I’ve written to you before and I don’t mean to be a bother to you or take from your busy day, but once again, I’ve been greatly inspired and touched by your words. I was on a flight from Burbank to Las Vegas for a business meeting (I’m in Hospital sales for a large Biotechnology company based in Thousand Oaks) on Tuesday and took along the latest issue of Triathlete (Feb. 2007) and turned to your Starting Lines piece (it’s the first thing I read each month when I open the magazine) entitled "This Time Around." When I got to the part about your Dad asking, “Hey Mitch, what are you going to be today?” I felt the tears welling up and burning my eyes. Of course, I’m a 6’4” dude and at 7:45 AM I wouldn’t want anyone in the seat next to me to think I was off my rocker (or maybe that I had burned my mouth with hot coffee), but nonetheless your words meant a great deal to me as man, triathlete, father, and human being.
I have a similar relationship with my Dad (he’s still living) and your sentiment and expression reiterated to me how life is about balance and keeping the right priorities whilst holding onto the memories of the pure and good things that keep us grounded in who we are and where we’re going. I too believe, as Helan Steller who wrote and sang: “This time around, you can be anyone.” Triathlon is more than just a sport in motion, it’s a way of life and it’s a metaphor for all the little and big things that matter to the person reaching for his/her goals (whatever they may be). Triathlon has saved me many times and as I navigate my 30s will be a good compass in the years ahead for life in general.
So thank you again for your writing, for your words and for the universal themes that keep your expression relevant and real to me and to anyone else that is fortunate enough to start each month with "Mitch Thrower’s Starting Lines"’
I’m a father of a 2 and-a-half year old little girl and I’m going to ask her the same question, on a regular basis as she gets older, that your father asked you. It’s a beautiful question indeed, one of hope and possibility and most of all, love.
Thousand Oaks, California