Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Essence of Success

"Successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Who has gained the respect of children; Who leaves the world better than they found it; Who has never lacked appreciation for the Earth's beauty; Who never failed to look for the best in others and who always gave the best of themselves" This past week I saw a picture circulating of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Michael Jordan. The picture clearly indicated how much more accomplished Michael Jordan was than Kobe and Lebron have been combined. We all know that Jordan is the best basketball player to ever live and when you see him in the middle of all of his trophies, its an impressive sight. It reminded me of a picture that we took of Deddy not long before he passed away. All of his awards, trophies, and honors placed around him was quite impressive. But the thing about his awards that I find most impressive is that for him, they were more than just recognition for accomplishments, they were memories of how full his life was. Deddy was voted the MVP in Baseball for Harnett County his Junior Year in High School. He won championships in T-Ball, Little League, and Junior League as he coached Travis and I for many years. About 2 months before he died, he was voted into the NC Hall of Honor for his work with the recreation department over many years. But these accomplishments only scratch the surface of my father's dedication. He used to work every day, come home, grab something to eat and off we would go. I don't know how many miles he drove over the years picking up other kids, but it had to be to the moon and back. Then he would coach all evening. For many years, he coached Travis' team and my team. Those had to be LONG days. And he didn't just coach for his two boys, he coached for all the kids that played for him over the years. He coached many of the kids so many years, I think many of them grew to see him as much more than just a coach. From time to time, I'll see someone that I played ball with and they will always mention Deddy. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my father. Although he did not live to see his 49th birthday, the life he lived during the time he was here was remarkable in many ways. I think some people get caught up in their accomplishments. It would be easy to get caught up in the idea that recognitions or awards reflect what type of person you are, but they don't. What gives awards credibility is the time, effort, and heart one puts into what they do. Deddy liked to win, and he did not like to lose, but he was satisfied with the outcome as long as he felt like everyone tried as hard as they could. There were many times when something did not turn out as I had hoped, and Deddy was always there to offer advice and encouragement. The last several years have been challenging for me in many ways. I can't tell you how much I wish I could have talked to him on many occassions. At my lowest points in life, he was always there to give me advice and help me to see a brighter day. Travis and I both had challenging times during our college years but to Deddy, failure was not an option. I contemplated taking a semester off my sophomore year at Carolina but he encouraged me to stick with it. Actually, it went more like this: "Deddy, I'm thinking of taking this semester off".....Deddy: "And do what?" Me: "I don't know, work?" Deddy: "No. Son, if you take a semester off, you might decide not to go back. You have worked your whole life for the opportunity to go to Carolina. Are you passing ONE class?" Me: "Yeah, I'm passing all of them. I'm actually doing fine but Statistics is incredibly difficult" Deddy: "Well, if you are passing all of your classes, you're not coming home. That's it." Honestly, I had felt so overwhelmed during that time that I did not know what to do. But after I had that conversation with him, I felt like a ton of rocks had been lifted from me. I don't really know why, because he basically forbid me to do what I thought I should do at the time. It was just his nature and reassurance that renewed my determination and confidence. Deddy commanded respect even though he was not forceful by nature. I think more than any awards or recognitions of achievement, what Deddy earned most in his life was respect. One of my friends was explaining to another friend one time why he understood my rationale for making every effort NOT to get into trouble. He said, "Have you seen Grizzly Adams?...Imagine him angry and on crack! That would be Robbie's Deddy if he got in trouble" I am so grateful that I had him for a father and its my prayer this Father's Day that he knows that. I hope all of you have a wonderful Father's Day. Enjoy time with your father while you can, because you never know when that opportunity will no longer exist. If you are a father, enjoy time with your children and make every effort to remind them that you will always be there for support. I had this picture framed with the "Essence of Success" under it and gave one to Travis and kept one for myself. Everytime I look at it and read it, I am reminded of just how successful Deddy was in the time he was here.

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