Suffering,chocolate donuts and greatness

Feb. 1993

Feb. 1993

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I came across this old picture a few weeks ago at Nana and Papaw’s house. It’s from a cold evening in February 1993: McClellan Gymnasium on the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus.

In the picture I’m taking my first bite of a donut after my senior wrestling season. I had just won the state title after years of dreaming about it, bleeding for it, crying over it, and suffering for it.

I had never tasted anything so delicious. So many nights during my wrestling career I went to bed in a sweatsuit, my protruding ribs like a cage around my dream, that familiar hollowness of hunger, and the taste of my own blood in my mouth from lips so dry they bled.

When you haven’t wrestled, and suffered for it, it’s hard to understand all of this. But physical suffering in the name of gaining strength and immense mental strain are part of becoming great.

But none of that was possible until I began to believe what my coach had taught me: you must believe, with all of your heart, that you are the best and what you are doing is right  – before it will ever become true.

On the other side of the necessary suffering, there are moments like that first bite of a chocolate covered donut (a dozen of them actually).

I guess this relates to where we are now.

I can smell the donuts.

A dozen of them.

And they WILL be delicious. Because I believe in the steps we’re taking. I believe they are right and guided by more than my own whims.

Izzy, you had your first swim meet of the season yesterday. You did awesome! In the final event of the day, the 9-10 year old girls 100 Individual Medley, you won by a half pool length. It was a dominant race!


You ran to me, Mommy, Max, and Kate immediately after the race. I’ll never forget the smile on your face and your astonishment at learning how truly great you can be.

I love you,

– Daddy


Sun: Biked 32 miles / ran 2 miles BRICK

Mon: Swam 2000

Tues: Biked 26 miles / ran 2 miles BRICK

Wed: Ran 10 miles

Thurs: Swam 1800