My Buddy

by Kerry Taylor

Wow, wow, wow! We meet a lot of people in our lifetime. Especially being a coach, you come across all types of people, different ages, shapes, sizes and mentalities. It's been on my heart to share a little about someone who was extremely special to me. 

One day a few years ago, while walking outside 212, I ran into Pat who is the wife of Don. She said to me, with a huge smile and confident look, "You can bring the sparkle back into my husband. He needs you. If anyone can do it, I know you can." Wow! I was extremely flattered by her words but it was our very first time meeting, like, we had never had a real conversation before. We just may have said "hi" and "bye" in passing. But of course, I was excited to meet her husband and do whatever I could to help. But in our line of work, a lot of people say things as far as, "I want to get in shape," or "I'm going to start working out," and they never follow through with it. Low and behold, 20 minutes later, Don called and we were scheduled to meet the next day. 

When Don walked in, I knew I had my work cut out for me, but not because he was so bad off, but because there was so much energy and vigor that wanted to come out, but at that point in time, couldn't. I had to get it out into the front and let him shine. Don was 78 years old, had recovered from 3 heart attacks, hadn't worked out in many many years. When we started, his workouts were about 15 minutes long. Every day there were signs of that sparkle Pat talked about starting to emerge. Standing up taller, smiling more, telling more stories and jokes.

The journey with my man, Don was an amazing one. As he progressed he started to come to the gym everyday. He started to see things that people could do which made him want to do all of them, regardless of what I said. He was determined to attempt them. Sometimes with great success and others, not so much. Then came the day he came across the trap bar and the sled, these two exercises became his favorite things to do. Everyday he had to beat what he did last time he was in the gym. I'm happy to say he worked his way up to 195lbs on the deadlift and 6 plates on the sled. He was always so proud of what he could do.

He would sometimes bring his granddaughter, Lilly in with him to workout. That was always a fun day because he turned into the coach, haha. I could've taken the day off. He was so proud of what he learned and what he could do he wanted to show her how to do it. He would coach her up on how to do everything he could think of and he was a great coach!

We spoke about his journey with AA and what it was like and how he turned his life around. He continued to to go to meetings to help others and let them know that if he could do it, they could all do it. I saw some of the coins he gathered over the years of "taking it one day at a time."

My happiest days were when he would tell me that he was able to do some tasks with ease that used to give him trouble. Taking out the trash, doing the lawn, walking up stairs, going for walks. Don was getting his life back. Then came the day we talked about poker. He loved his poker games. He tried to get me to play a few times, but I didn't want him to take me for everything I had!

A couple of months ago, Don passed away at the age of 82. I could go on and on about how great Don was and our journey together. I'm just truly honored that through a chance meeting I was able to make a great connection with someone so special. We had some fun times together. I'll miss my buddy, knowing there is no chance of him walking through that door again to surprise us all and say hello. I hope in our time together, we were able to get that sparkle back for you Pat.