This phenomenal thing we call life is filled with many wonderful people. I would like to take a moment to journey into the past to name a few individuals I was fortunate enough to meet. After that, it is certainly appropriate to reveal several recent acquaintances, many of which were met on twitter.
While I was in college, there were a number of individuals that I had the good fortune of meeting. Since the list goes on and on, I am forced to pick only a few. First of all, it was my decision to become a powerlifter which opened many doors for me. Because of this competitive sport and the things we had in common, I met football legends like Pat Sullivan (Heisman Trophy winner), David Campbell (All-American), Tom Banks (legendary NFL center), David Langner (all I need to say is 17-16 win over Alabama), and Mike Kolen (“Rookie of the Year” at the Miami Dolphins, 8 seasons with Miami when they dominated the league, nicknamed “Captain Crunch”).
Now that I have provided their names, let me reveal a few details about our association. For those of you who do not know, powerlifting is a very competitive sport. It never ceases to amaze me at what a well-disciplined body can accomplish. That is where I learned concentration, persistence, patience, and positive thinking. When you step under a bar holding hundreds of pounds of weight, you either succeed or become crushed. So I learned to make a commitment before taking on the task. You either do it or not – but never maybe. That philosophy has stayed with me throughout life.
On one particular afternoon, my friend David Campbell and I lifted weights in the coliseum at Auburn University. It was when I offered him a ride back to Sewell Hall that I realized he was not only a legend but a giant of a man. With the seat pushed back as far as it would go, his knees rested against the dash of my car, a Ford Galaxy. Later a girl friend of mine sat on my left while David took a seat on my right. Finally, unable to contain it any longer and after staring at him, she leaned over and said, “That is one more hunk of a man.” I could not help laughing at the expression on her face. Friendships come in all sizes.
Another person I would like to mention in Mike Kolen. After completing his first year in the NFL as Rookie of the Year, we lifted weights together one afternoon while he was on break. He paid me a very nice compliment concerning my physical condition. Imagine how that felt coming from a pro. I would also like to mention legendary center, Tom Banks, an outstanding pro football player. He lifted with us as a team in the state championship. After completing my lifts, I was called upon to judge the competition for the heavier weight classes. Once the lifts were completed, I – along with two other judges, provided a thumb’s up for a pass or a thumb’s down to signal a failed attempt. Can you imagine looking up at Tom Banks to make such a call? Everyone who knows anything about centers realizes those guys are gigantic. But I survived, and winning the team trophy will remain a highlight of my life.
A few years later I had the rare opportunity of meeting Hank Williams, Jr. in a private setting. I did not recognize him at first; but when I did, he chuckled and we struck up a conversation. Other notable people that I met in my business endeavors are Don Logan, Chairman of Time Warner, and Ken Griggy, Chairman and CEO of Wilson Foods. All of these people, while very influential, were some of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet.
On the business side of my journey, I was privileged to be featured in several national magazines which was quite an honor for me. During my weightlifting career, I was even featured in the same magazine as Arnold Schwarzenegger – he a body builder and me a powerlifter. My kids got a kick out of reading those articles and ended up making copies to take to school to convince their friends. I also met several celebrities at the National Competition level including the residing Mr. America (that was before Arnold made it big) and the great power lifter, Terry Todd, holder of world records.
The list goes on, but I want to get to the reason for this blog. For years I have resisted joining twitter out of concern that this social media is a very powerful tool. Would the people be kind or demeaning? Well, I am happy to say it has been a wonderful experience. I have found that twitter friends are so kind that it is only appropriate to take a moment to mention a few.
When I first began this amazing journey, there was a kind person named Mary L Delgado (MaryLDelgado) who followed me. You know her well as all America fell in love with Mary on “The Bachelor”. She is a former Tampa Bay Buc’s cheerleader and a very beautiful young woman. But it was twitter that has provided me with the chance to connect with her on a more personal basis. I must say that Mary is a wonderful, considerate, caring individual. She takes the time to tweet me back and is always a pleasure to speak with. Like me, she is a competitor and has proven herself as we have already seen. Mary is currently involved in several secret projects and has mentioned that we may see more of her soon. However, what she would like very much is to be on “Dancing with the Stars”. So, Mary, what do you think? Are you up to the challenge? I sense a smile – all the answer I need. We hope to see you soon on DWTS.
In conclusion I would like to mention several close friendships that have developed as a result of twitter. Caleb Pirtle (CalebPirtle) is a well-known author, screenwriter, with movie connections to Kenny Rogers. Recently Caleb placed me in his “Author’s Showcase”. (http://bit.ly/zSEQeh) Thanks to my friend, sales for the book he featured – SURVIVAL – are rising. His showcase is providing me an opportunity to reveal my works to readers. Thanks, my friend.
Ann Marie Dwyer (AnnMarieDwyer) did an “Author Interview” http://bit.ly/saWtay which gave the readers a chance to get to know me on a more personal basis.
As many of you are aware, I am involved in a project intended to provide public awareness concerning human trafficking. The Twelve SEALswas used on Dottie Laster’s TRAFFICKED, Here Women Talk Radio Show, for that purpose. This guest appearance, http://bit.ly/zDUkka, is archived if you would like to poke a little fun at my accent.
Now I would like to mention a very special person that came into my life on twitter. Stacie (whatzMineIzYurz) is a true friend that I will be forever grateful to. She has connected me with some very dear acquaintances: Dottie Laster TRAFFICKED, Ana Herradon (AnaHerradon), KC Oliver (KC_oliver), Judy (jThomasross), Brian (CharlieNitric), and Mina (minamaya13). Others special friends I have met on twitter that I would like to mention are Vonda Norwood (VondaNorwood), Raine Thomas (Raine_Thomas), Michelle Hughes (MichelleHughes_), Christine Warner (ChristinesWords), Brian Bohls (BrianBohls), and Ticia Verveer (ticiaverveer). This by no means is a complete list, and hopefully in time I will be able to mention many more. I have already run over the allotted space. So, here is to my friends on twitter that scan the globe: I am so thankful for all of you.
There is no doubt about it: twitter friends are the best.
In loving memory of Stacie Dorego – a tragic loss of a true friend!
Donations are now being accepted by Johnston Firefighters Local 1950 – for Stacie Dorego’s children http://bit.ly/zGFvQW