Helping Others Lead Healthier Lives: A Tribute to My Father

I can feel it in my bones and my guts, from the tip of my toes to the ends of my fingers. I embrace the idea through my whole body. I can hear it ringing in my ears. It’s almost as if I can smell it and taste it, as if it’s tangible. Even to this day. “The only one who can push you harder than me is you! You can hear me coaching and you can listen to my words, but the motivation comes from within. You have to want it,” he would tell me. “You have to want it more than anyone else on the field.”

So, when it came down to midway through the second half of a game—when everyone starts to fade and energy is low, when people just can’t keep up the same intensity as they could in the first half, when they don’t know whether they can continue to produce—I didn’t just hear my dad in my head, but I felt his words burning in my heart. I felt what he said to me. I believed with all of my being that I was going to be able to push harder and longer than any adversary I would ever face; I knew that I would be able to find the strength to carry not just myself, but also my team. And that I would be able to do whatever it took to get the job done.

My father didn’t just have this effect on me. He was able to influence other people by the way he communicated with them. It’s as if he was telepathically linking to their emotional hard drive or transferring his thoughts into their head with a simple nod. I thought it might just be because he was my dad that I perceived this phenomenon, but with time I would come to see the way others reacted to him. Whether it was at his construction company F&K (Friendly and Kind) as he was talking to employees or at my athletic events as he was talking to other parents, people would have a certain look on their faces, of concentration backed by comfort, when he interacted with them. Growing up, I thought my dad knew everybody. Walking down the street he would address strangers like they were college buddies or as if they grew up in the same small town.  Everyone he made eye contact with was a, “How you doing, how’s it going, how you doing?” The man never met a stranger.

Look at little tiny me, learning what I’m sure was a profound lesson from Coach Ernie in the form of a cracker

I want to give you this information because it explains a lot about who I am and why I am so passionate about what I do. I believe one of the reasons I am drawn to activity, sport, fitness and movement in general is because during those activities was the time I got to spend with my hero growing up. The times I spent with my dad on the field were some of the best times in my life. He loved to coach my sister and me, and he did so until high school wouldn’t allow him to. He didn’t play a lick of soccer, but he turned me into a collegiate level soccer player. He studied and attended camps, and learned and adapted so that, in this way, he could be a part of our lives. I not only learned how to play the games, I saw and learned from him how to grow as a teammate, a leader, and a good human being. He taught me that if I didn’t understand how to do something, I could always work hard, learn and achieve whatever it is I wanted.

I am my fathers’ son. I want to use the attributes that he passed on to me to help convey my passion to you. Hopefully, I can impress upon you how important these things are to me and give you reasons to believe why they should be important in your life as well.

I have been practicing physical therapy since 2008 and have been in the health and wellness field since 1999. As a physical therapist, I treat musculoskeletal dysfunction. This means if you have a problem with a bone, joint, muscle, capsule, tendon, ligament, or nerve I can help. Physical therapists are movement specialists. We look at the way you move and assess what limitations you may have in strength, flexibility, mobility and or stability. We use this information to establish a diagnosis or a reason why you are in pain or why you cannot do what you want to be able to do.

I enjoy treating active people and have helped individuals from the “weekend warrior” to the professional athlete. I find great satisfaction in treating the nontraditional athlete—the mom who has four kids and is now trying to get back in shape because the kids are college bound. Or the businessman who wants to play golf when he retires but just can’t seem to get the “ball rolling”. It is fulfilling to flip the switch that gets people to realize there is hope and that they can take it to the next level. They just need the knowledge and motivation.

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