Sweat and Tears

I watch sports center when I work out. It makes my sweat feel sexier and it pushes me to work harder. Seriously, if a monstrously big man like Charles Barkley can sprint like that, so can I.

Sports center is my ammunition; it allows me to see what the human body is capable of (unless it is stuck on Dale Earnhardt Jr. which is a major blow to my TV induced endorphin-pick-me- upper -work-outs). TV is how I began running. I saw a no make-up Oprah trudging through the last few miles of the New York marathon and I thought to myself, "If Oprah can run a marathon, Oprah...I hope to God I can too." And I started running.

Oprah and Charles Barkley and big fat NFL linebackers. If they can do it, I can do it!

At least this is what I tell myself. I trick my brain into tricking my body into exercising. That, and, I tell myself that if I work out hard enough, I can reward myself later with Mexican food and a cupcake.

So today Sports Center threw me for a loop. The gym at our Holiday Inn does not have any air conditioning (for that matter, nothing in the city of Wichita Falls, Texas seems to have air conditioning. It is just a miserable, hellish 96 freaking degrees here). I was working out with Ryan and Travis and we were not sweating, we were gushing. Sweat happens along your forehead and under your arms when you work out. Gushing happens when your body cracks open under intense heat and all of a sudden there are puddles of water coming out of places on your body that shouldn't be able to produce water, gasps for air, and a delirious look of survival in your eyes. This is no longer sweat. This is salty gushy rivers.

That was us. Gushing away when Sports Center changed their tone and a man came on warning that the following story contained intense material. The TV was no longer pushing us to work harder, it was just distracting us enough so we wouldn't realize that we were melting (this is my favorite line in the movie Fools Rush In, when the two families from different cultures collide and the father from Connecticut says to the father from Mexico, with a bit of anger in his voice and a huge sunburn across his forehead,"The white people are melting out here!!!"). I should have listened to the warning, but I couldn't stop watching the TV for fear of dehydration and heart attack once my body had nothing to focus on. So I watched.

It was the story of the 2008 Summerville High School's Basketball team in Summerville, South Carolina. And it was a tribute to their coach, Coach Louis Mulkey.

I have never gushed sweat and tears at the same time. In fact, I cannot think of a time that I cried during a work out (OK there was once but I was, you know, PMS'ing and really emotional and that covers a multitude of sins). But I lost it. Through sit-ups and my final moments of cardio, I cried and cried and cried some more. This is a story about a man who changed his world and these boys lives with his passion, kindness, strength, vision, dedication, and most importantly, his love. I cannot do it justice, so I encourage you to watch the video for yourself. But be warned. You will cry. Maybe even gush.

I started today being grateful for a silly thing like Sports Center, but now I am grateful for a guy I never knew who made the world more beautiful. I hope we each leave a mark on the world like this.

This story is well worth your time, so click here to see it.