There I was lying on the ground trying desperately not to swear in front of my 6th grade students. The pain was immense and I knew it was bad, very bad. After getting brought to the Emergency room I was told it was a bad break and I was to be on crutches for 4-6 weeks.
So what did that mean for me? Well, besides hobbling around and grumbling how much my underarms hurt; it meant no basketball and probably a really boring summer vacation. Well guess what? It was exactly that.
My mom talked me in to moving back home to Vermont for the summer to help take care of me. The beginning of the summer was hard. I was in a 3-year relationship that was anything but healthy. I was overweight, but in denial, I couldn’t do the one thing that I loved and spent much of my free time doing (basketball), and I was stuck inside and very depressed.
It was more than difficult being stuck inside with my own thoughts. However, to keep myself occupied I decided to play online poker. I started out just for fun and using play money. My intentions were to enjoy myself and keep my mind off of the inevitable. After all, how much different could it be from playing home games with my friends. It was very different. Simply put, the word “Hoover” came to mind, as in Hoover Vacuum because I sucked! My competitive nature took over and I wanted to learn how to play poker, and play it at a higher level. My summer on crutches was now spent reading theory and strategy books on poker.
Poker gave me a new sense of purpose. It kept my mind sharp and opened my eyes to a new world. I gained confidence, left my unhealthy relationship, and decided to pursue a new hobby in Poker, both online and in Casinos.
At this point you are probably asking yourself, “What does getting hurt and playing poker have to do with life and being inspired?”
This ankle break was one of the worst injuries I had ever gone through. At the time I was more than upset, extremely depressed, and getting more than annoyed with people saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” But a couple years later I looked back on this one event and saw what kind of path it took me on and what doors this one incident opened for me.
Breaking my ankle and being inactive set me on a course to discover a new hobby in poker. Poker then took me out of my comfort zone to places like Foxwoods Casino and Las Vegas. Up to that point, I was pretty sheltered and hadn’t traveled much. At this point in my life, I was still teaching. Every vacation I had I took a trip to a casino. I made more money playing cards than I did spending countless hours of teaching (however, I love teaching). The more I visited Las Vegas, the more I realized I was ready for a change, a big change, and that change came in the form of a cross country move to Sin City.
While in Las Vegas, I played cards for a living. I made lots of money, lived an interesting life, and enjoyed myself in some very unhealthy ways (I had no sense of good nutrition and I loved beer). Just moving to Las Vegas in itself was a good thing that came as a result of having this horrible injury. However, certain life events brought me back to Vermont a bit little wiser and with a large sense of adventure.
Once I was back home, I noticed that life in Vermont hadn’t changed all that much. What had changed was me. I used to enjoy going out 5 nights a week with my friends. I used to be the big guy that everyone loved, but no one wanted. I also saw some close friends also struggling with their health and always wanted to do something about it. That is when I decided to put my pride on the sidelines and accept help in the way of a fitness bootcamp.
Here I became focused and wanted to become a better me. I also wanted to lead by example and inspire others. 7 months later I went from a weight of 305 pounds to 235 pounds. Not only did I feel a lot better, but also this lifestyle became a career.
Over the next few years my career in fitness turned into becoming a Certified Personal Trainer through NSCA, owning my own business, to making a bold move across the country to beautiful and sunny southern California where I wanted new experiences and to learn more about my trade. (Thanks for the push Heather)
I could not have foreseen what would have happened since I have made the move. I have had some AWESOME experiences from meeting and hanging out with my favorite band Garbage, skydiving, finding out that Spartan races are my passion, exploring one of the greatest places on the planet, and meeting and training some of the most wonderful people I have ever encountered.
My point to this story is that if I had never gone through the turmoil of a nasty ankle break my life would be completely different. More than likely I would probably be married and divorced (maybe even with children), I would never have found my passions for fitness and poker, I would be overweight, and I would have settled for something I didn’t want. Instead that one experience has taught me that I am adventurous, curious, confident, and wanting to inspire the uninspired. This ankle break completely changed my life forever and I can confidently look back and say that perhaps “everything happens for a reason and there is something positive that came out of it.”
You may not know what positives can come from a bad experience for days, months, or even years but I can assure you that if you have the right mindset and you look a little, you may just be surprised.
Top 5: Quotes of encouragement!
“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” -Elvis Presley
“There’s nothing that can happen TO you that can’t also happen FOR you.” -Mandy Hale
“Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines.” -Robert Schuller
“Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” -Unknown
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.” – Unknown
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