Building the Perfect Beast

sunset ponderThe genesis of this post is the 1984 album of the same name released by Don Henley. I have always been intrigued by the title and often find myself using it when I talk about putting the pieces of something together. Particularly in multisport training as athletes are constantly trying to strike the perfect balance of several critical components such as training volume, rest, nutrition, equipment, etc. The goal of every athlete is to try to put all of the pieces together that will yield the best result. And with proper planning & preparation, a little luck and perhaps some divine intervention, hopefully you will have built a (near) perfect beast come race day.

But the title speaks to much more than multisport training. “The Beast” concept hit me again the other day when I was responding to a friend’s email and I realized that I am constantly in a state of building or creating something or charting a course to somewhere. and I’m not positive I yet know what it is that I am building or where it is that I am going. I’m still not 100% certain of some of my “reasons” for the people that I meet and often don’t know what lies ahead but I feel as though I am frequently being guided in one direction or another for a particular reason. And that typically leads me to something or someone who seems to be able to provide the next building block or the next directional turn in my path.

Years ago I was a soccer goalkeeper and one of the professional athletes that I admired was a guy named Shep Messing. Well somehow we connected a few years ago and have remained in touch. And it was Shep who introduced me to another goalkeeper – Ethan Zohn, who had just been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Shep did his part in building the beast because he sensed a connection would be valuable for Ethan and I . And he was right. And the number of lives that Ethan has touched is immeasurable.

It happened again this morning when I received the following email from a friend:

Hi Steve,
I have a 26 year old young lady who would like to donate volunteer time to work with people who are struggling with cancer. She is in her last semester of college finishing a degree in counseling. I have been working with her and can attest to her character and nature. I would greatly appreciate it if you can help us connect her with the right people/agency to be of service.
Thanks In Advance

Ironically, the above email came from ANOTHER former soccer goalkeeper who now works with kids in a local school district and is giving back and paying forward in very big ways. In my playing days, obviously I had no idea how significant the goalie connection would become. Although I always did recognize goalies as being a special breed…. with unique camaraderie.

Of course I will be able to connect the woman referenced in the email. And who knows how many lives she may end up touching, or saving. And how many lives those people may touch. It’s all part of an ever evolving process. Someday perhaps I will be able to look back on all of this and fully understand how all of the jig saw pieces have fit together. Until that day, I remain very happy to be able to fit pieces in here and there and connect smaller chunks of the puzzle. And I feel very fortunate for the things I have done, the places I have seen, and the people I have met. I know that it is all leading to something very good and very positive, I just can’t quite make out the full picture just yet. Things are still incomplete and fuzzy. But that’s all ok.

And keeping within the music theme, I think I find myself “On the Road to Find Out” as Cat Stevens once wrote. And I’m good with that. I’m fine with not knowing all of the answers because I am doing exactly what I remind others to do all of the time. And that is I am enjoying the journey. Don’t fret too much about the destination or how fast you get there. But keep your eyes, ears, and heart open so that you can process and enjoy everything along the way.

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