I get up, most mornings and exercise. On some mornings it's all about getting in a few sets of several exercises, so that -when I get to the gym- I'm not standing around waiting for folks to finish up their sets. On other mornings, it's all about getting my abs. worked, and maybe some shadow-boxing, or some time on the heavy bag; all of this before the kids get up.
Fitness and regular workouts are a way of life for me. This lifestyle choice had its genesis in my dad. He had been shipped off to Thailand, during the Vietnam War, as he was a USAF Tech. Sergeant, at the time. He was always active, quite athletic, actually. His mainstays, up until this time, were baseball and basketball. I still remember seeing him dunking a basketball, behind his head, at the base gym. Remember, also, that this was before the advent of $200.00 specialty basketball shoes. We all wore either low-cut or high-cut Keds, in those days.
My father returned from Thailand, and had dropped a few pounds, significantly more muscular, and had earned his first degree black belt in Song mu Kwan Tae kwon Do. He didn't really have too many war stories to share with my brother and me. He had this infectious enthusiasm for the martial arts and working out. By the time our family had moved to his next assignment, my brother and I were regulars at the base gym. I tended to lift weights (as my father had taught me), and my younger brother was all about basketball.
Time moved on. My dad, my brother and I continued to work out while getting on with our lives. I pursued the martial arts and continued to lift weights on a regular basis. My brother and I both participated in high school sports. He evolved into a runner and basketball player. I still remember when I was in Basic Officer Training School, I used to run three miles per day, and sneak off to the base gym to lift weights, several days per week. The other days, I would run five miles.
Everyone in my family stayed fit throughout the years. I can thank my father for having inculcated the value of lifelong fitness in me; something which each of my children still pursue in their lives. We all work out.
At 76 years of age, he still bench pressed upwards of 250 lbs., when he was diagnosed with advanced-stage colon cancer. He was frustrated that he could only bench press 220 lbs., while undergoing chemo/radiation therapy. He remained upbeat throughout his post-operative program, exercising at home, using physio-bands, and light dumbbells.
My dad passed away a few weeks ago. His legacy will be a quick smile, a kind word for everyone and an encouraging word for every situation he ever came across. I will miss his counsel, his jokes, and his patience, encouragement, and kindness toward my three children. He adored my mother from the day they first met. Theirs was a love for the ages. In addition to his kindness and levelheadedness, he will live on through me, and my three children, with every weight lifted, every mile run, and every sip of water after every tough workout. God Bless You, Dad.