A word of thanks to Ted, Stephen, and Roger
I know I am big on giving thanks and recognition for those people who have made an impact on my life. I have often sung the praises and the importance of the family support that I have always received; whether it was in my athletic endeavors, my leukemia diagnosis, or just living life, I have always had a strong support system.
There are three individuals however who have also played a very important role in who I have become. I initially wanted to talk about their impact on my athletic life, but looking back, at least two of men also played a key role in helping mold and shape the total person that became Steve Brown. Two of these men were coaches and teachers of mine at Haverford High School in Havertown Pennsylvania. The third is a true fitness expert – no – fitness genius that I had the pleasure of training with for a couple of years in the mid 1980s in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania. Education and fitness have always been my hot buttons it’s pretty logical that I feel ties to these three people so many years later.
Ted Keyser coached me in soccer and volleyball at Haverford. Ted, or “TK” as he was known by all, did not look particularly intimidating. He was (is) very slight in stature with a military buzz hair cut. I knew of Ted before I actually met him. Student athletes either respected the hell out of the man, or detested and rejected everything that he was trying to do. Ted had a brilliant and successful coaching career at Haverford. Haverford boys volleyball became synonymous with “State Champions”. And his soccer teams were a powerhouse year after year. TK got these results by turning boys into men and forced them to take ownership for their actions. He ruled with a hard disciplinarian approach. There were some soccer practices that didn’t even involve the use of a ball and consisted of nothing but conditioning. But as tough as he was, he was and I’m sure still is, a good and respectful man. I always wanted to do right by TK. If you kept your nose clean, and gave 110% on and off the field, TK liked you. And TK liking you was a always good thing. The funny thing is, to this day I think of him often when I am racing and training. I think of the principles and the work ethic that he instilled in us. I think about two words that he used to use all the time – “intestinal fortitude” when things get a little tough. Soccer went on to play a key role for me in college and beyond; thanks to Ted Keyser.
Steve Juenger was my high school basketball coach. Although he was just as successful as Ted Keyser, his approach was from the opposite end of the spectrum. Mr. Juenger was the gentleman coach and really didn’t believe in pushing his athletes too far. Instead he was a purest and a perfectionist who believed that shooting 100 foul shots everyday served you much better than doing conditioning drills. It was always a tough transition for those of us who played soccer and basketball. Since basketball followed soccer in the year, we were all so amped up from so much physical conditioning with TK that it was hard to slow the pace down and shift gears for Steve Juenger. I even remember asking Mr. Juenger if it would be Ok if we ran some suicide sprints after practice. (Yes, I was a little “off” back then as well). But the thing that I took away from Mr. Juenger was how to be a good person. Sportsmanship and conduct always came first in his book. And that is something else that I practice and preach every day. Steve Juenger was one of the first true ambassadors of good karma in my athletic career. Sadly we lost Mr. Juenger a few years back but his legacy lives large and Haverford has since named their gym after him.
And then we have Roger Schwab. I will have to choose my words wisely because according to Roger, there is no such thing as a fitness “guru”, but he is as close as you’re going to get without using that term. Roger is the owner and founder of Main Line Health and Fitness, originally known as Main Line Nautilus. (www.mlhf.com) I trained at Main Line for a few years in the mid 1980s. Roger’s resume is too decorated for me to do it any justice in this brief post. I encourage you to visit their website and read more about their organization and the man behind it. Roger in a true health and fitness pioneer and was one of the first people to preach the importance of tying “health” and “fitness” together. He hires staff that is committed to the overall health of each and every single member. He was published in the field of women’s health and fitness before most other “experts” were deriving any difference between the needs of men and women. It was at Roger’s gym that I began to develop a keen interest in exercise physiology and wanted to learn more about the body and how it responded to the stresses of training. It was Roger’s gym that lit the spark in me to go out and receive certifications in personal training and weight room conditioning. Main Line poured a solid foundation of strength and aerobic conditioning principles that I continue to pull from all the time. And when someone asks my opinion on something related to these subjects, I find myself recalling what Roger would say, including one of his classic lines, “You can gen strong and fit just by lifting a sack of rocks if you do it the right way”. Roger and his buddy Pat Croce gave birth to what became the sports medicine industry.
So, there you have it. I just wanted to give a quick nod to three wise men who I consider very instrumental in the development of – me.