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What happens to a tough guy

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:04 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

Sometimes in life, you’re called to be tough because of the moment you’re living in, or sometimes it’s just who you are. It’s great to see a tough guy taken out of his element, or having his heart softened.

This week, I got called upon to be tough in my work, but it was my life off the clock that softened my heart.

I had a chance to see an old friend, and even though it was during a tragic time for her, she reminded me one can be strong no matter the circumstances, if you have a great group of friends around you. I walked into the room, trying to be tough, but found myself going back to my “high school” self, thanks to her infectious smile and enchanting personality.

One of my favorite movies growing up was “As Good As It Gets.” In that film, Jack Nicholson’s character tells Helen Hunt’s that, many times in life, he has found himself to be a horrible mess of a man, but after she has came into his life he has started taking care of himself. He then uttered the famous line, “You make me want to be a better man.”

That’s how I would describe my friend. She’s the kind of woman who makes you want to be a better man.

When I saw the look in her eyes, knowing what she was going through — and what I was going through — I had so much I wanted to say. The intriguing thing was she already knew; I found myself driving away with a smile, never knowing when I will see her again.

I have a cool job because every day is different, but the biggest struggle I find myself having is with finality. I always wonder if I have done everything I can or should before time has run its course.

There’s been a lot of struggling with that this week with a number of deaths, and with the departure of another coworker. During the lunch we had after Matt Nosco gave his notice, I found I was being really quiet; I just didn’t know what to say to him.

Even now the only words that I can find to fit the situation are, “Thank you for the memories and support.”

After having heard one of the best speeches ever by an athlete this past weekend, I woke up Tuesday to find that very same athlete had died. It made me think about a lesson many people have taught me: sometimes people hold on until the very day they have finished what they set out to do.

The athlete of whom I speak was the professional wrestler known to most of you as “The Ultimate Warrior.” He came to the ring one last time running full speed, shaking the ropes like only he could. The words he spoke afterward were about immortalization and legends.

No man becomes a legend on his own. Every mans heart one day beats its final beat and his lungs breathe its final breath.

If what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others makes them believe in something deeper and larger than life then his essences and his spirit will be immortalized by the story tellers, by the loyalty and by the memory of those who honor him and make whatever the man did live forever.

This has been a time in my life where many of the things that were larger than life in my childhood have begun to fade away. What made them larger than life, and which will make them legendary to me, is their individual stories.

I can only hope someone will do him the honor of reading those words when they lay him to rest. Now 72 hours removed from hearing his words, they still get my heart going.

So, for those of you who have impacted my week, I simply want to say, “Thank you for the memories.”

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