Get Fired UP for the founder of National Park Week – Huh?
I know – what the hell is Alden talking about: “National Park Week”??? What’s that got to do with CHARLIE MIKE? Actually – a whole helluva lot – at least to me personally...Teddy Roosevelt, Mr. Bull Moose* himself, is the reason we have the National Parks that we have today and his life is one of my great inspirations in life. My Mom first introduced me to Teddy’s life when I was 12 – she told me about his story as we drove home from a doctor’s appointment in Worcester, Massachusetts. The reason she told his story was I had just been diagnosed with asthma and heard the doctor tell my mother – right in front of me – that I should choose a less active lifestyle because my lungs would not be able to support it – he said I should learn chess…as he left the room that’s when I felt my Mom’s signature finger-nail digging-into-my-skin-ow-that’s-hurts-grip, and she said: “Don’t you let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do.” Then as we drove home, she told me about a great President that was born with a set of lungs much like mine – he got sick a lot, just like me, but he keep doing the things he loved – exploring outside and doing active things (I loved hunting for snakes, turtles and frogs – actually still do with my boys!) and over time he grew out of his asthma – he didn’t let it limit him – instead it encouraged him to try harder – to not give up.
Well I can’t say I was completely inspired at the moment by her speech (I was more distracted at the concept that I might have to learn how to play chess), but over time I came to appreciate his attitude and his struggles as a young man. I didn’t let the doctor’s comments deter me from doing the things I wanted to do in life – there were certainly times when I found myself wondering if he was right, but somehow I always talked myself out of believing him – and I never gave up – call it stubborn persistence, but the idea that someone else would define what I can or can’t do really pisses me off – and it should piss you off too! I imagine that it pissed off Teddy too and it drove him to be the man he was – he never gave up on his passions.
So this week, or when you next visit a National Park, give a nod to good ole Teddy for not giving up when a whole bunch of others suggested he should have – better yet, drop on down and do a few sets of pushups for the Bull Moose – God knows he’s doing’em with you!
CHARLIE MIKE - ALDEN
* Picture of Teddy Roosevelt published with permission of the Kersten Galley (firstname.lastname@example.org).