This post may not be the most adventerous post I have ever written. It also may not be the most meaningful to others. To me though, it is one I couldn’t let go without writing about and adding to my Big Adventure.
For those of you who either know me or who have followed along with the journey, I’m sure there is one name you all have started to know, that always pops up quite often. That guy is Sam Bales.
You may have read his piece “A Little Taste of the Big Adventure” about when he joined me for a week on the loop. Now is my time to give him a little more thanks, where thanks is due.
Since coming off the water and starting my winter break, of course I couldn’t resist the thrill of a road trip to bring me back to reality…or at least my own reality. While the road is always fun for me, this winter I have had something bigger to look forward to…going to work for my best friend at Fed Ex. For probably about 12 years, he has been trying to convince me to work there, so with the time off, and the opportunity to get to workout with him again on a daily basis how could I pass up that chance.
This post isn’t as much about me, as it is about him. I always thought I knew him well and felt I had a firm grasp on who he was as a person. Little did I know, choosing to move back to Columbus and spend the winter with Fed Ex, only gave me a bigger appreciation for who he really is.
Our friendship started in college. While like most college kids I was soaking in the college experience, enjoying football and classes, Sam had a whole different experience and one I now know he isn’t given nearly enough credit for. Especially from me.
While my life consisted of books and the football field, he was busy proving as an 18 year old kid that it doesn’t matter where you come from, the money you have or how you were raised. It comes down to an ambition and drive only you can find within yourself.
To give you a glimpse of what that college schedule was like for him, it consisted of working the same 3rd shift Fed Ex spot that I am doing “for fun” now. And let’s just say fun is a term I will use very loosely. It is a workout. It is the true meaning of a job that really is “work”. For some, they don’t make it past the 1st day, let alone the 1st week. And it didn’t stop there for him. During spring ball, it was on to “The Hoop”. To all of us old Ohio Dominican football alumni, we know that was our 6am morning workout conditioning, where each session always saw it’s fair share of guys running for the nearest trash can. I can remember waking him up from his 30 minute nap in the bed of his pickup there in The Hoop parking lot, letting him know it was time to start. Having worked now at the Ex for 2 weeks and Bales and I throwing up a P90x workout after work each morning, I now can truly understand the hell he went through just to make it to 8am. But it doesn’t end there. Sleep…not for him. It was on to class, as we shared most of the same ones, which consisted of about 3 most days. Then to top it off after class it was off to the football field until 6pm. Sure he might have been able to pull off a couple hours of sleep then before heading back to work for 11, but usually he had some friend, namely me, bugging him to fish or get on the sticks to play a little NCAA football.
To me, this break in my Big Adventure and the opportunity to better understand my closest friend has been a truly humbling experience. I know he could care less about receiving praise, as to him, it was always just about chasing his dreams. What it does is give me a drive even more in my own. To see someone and truly get to walk a bit in their shoes, has been something I definitely haven’t taken forgranted.
He always says he is jealous of me and my crazy adventures getting to travel all over the country. The truth is…he is not the one I am jealous of, but proud of. To be a bum, and travel around the country is all well and good. But to work your butt off and now run one of the biggest Fed Ex Hubs in the nation, while having an amazing wife and rasing 4 adorable little girls is something I’m glad to say I am still a part of.
Some may not understand how or why this post ties in to my big adventure, but his friendship, encouragement and constant support is what motivates me to always dream big. No matter if I make it all around the The Great Loop, or if I never step foot on my board again, I’m glad to know I have such a good buddy by my side for what ever lies ahead!