We all know my affinity for all things KISS, but putting that aside, when someone is right they’re right. I started thinking about this after our last podcast guest, Darren Miller, started talking about the importance of making a mark while we are on this earth. This has always been something I believed in as well, so it was nice to hear it vocalized, much more articulately then I could do, on my own podcast. When I was young I played in a few garage bands and although with a few of my band mates our ambitions aligned, with the majority they did not. Harkening back to the day when mothers filled out “baby books” with their children’s information and kept them up though elementary school, when there was a spot that said “When I grow up I want to be _______ “, even at the age of 6, I always answered “rock star”. I am not sure why this was in my head at such a young age. I am not from a musical family as far as playing or singing. I do remember a lot of music being around though. My mother told me that my father was a big Beatle fan and used to sing to me when I was a baby, but he died when I was 3 so I’m not sure if things like that stick at such a young age. My aunt always had 45’s (Google it if you don’t know what that is) and would let me use them to practice my drums to when I was 8 (which is why I know things like “Kissing in the Kitchen” was the flip side of “The Duke of Earl”, and “I Can’t Explain It” was the flip side of “Hang On Sloopy”). My parents bought me my first KISS albums for Christmas when I was 13 (“Alive” and “Rock and Roll Over”), and my grandmother always managed to pick up a new one for me when they released one.
So I said that to say this … my ambitions didn’t always jive with some band mates because I always felt that if you were going to be in a band, be a musician, that you should be the BEST band out there. My ambitions far outweighed my talent of course, but the music industry is loaded with minimally talented bands and singers. Didn’t stop them from being successful though (right Ozzy?). At 13 I was looking at the band as my future, even at that young age, when most guys playing with me were just busy being kids. But I wanted to make a mark. I never saw the purpose in being a band like New England (Google it) when I could be ACDC.
So Gene Simmons has it right doesn’t he? Love him or hate him, his, and Paul Stanley’s, vision for KISS was that they’d be the biggest and best rock band of all time. It didn’t matter that they weren’t the best musicians (although they are under-rated in my opinion), or that Paul was a bullied little Jewish boy from Brooklyn and Gene was born Chiam Witz in Israel. They saw the big picture, aimed high, and by God accomplished what they set out to do, regardless of how you feel about them as a band … everyone knows who KISS is, right? How many reading this remember the band “New England”?
I had lost my way recently, forgetting the reason I started training three years ago. It was never about beating anyone, or winning anything. No, it started as a way to get my lazy, bloated, self doubting and self loathing ass off the couch and make a change in my life, while at the same time raising money for Team in Training. I started the blog with the initial intention of keeping myself accountable, and that has morphed into a blog trying to motivate, and educate (in my way), people wanting to get started … showing them that even I can do these races. That in turn has turned into a weekly podcast I do with my brother from another mother Andrew Weaver, a reverend from the hills of Pennsylvania. Our hope has been to keep ourselves on track, to chronicle the journey to our Ironman races this year, and to let others like us know they are not alone, and that it’s not a crime to be in the Back of the Pack.
Throughout this journey I have come across many others doing the same things, going on a personal quest but in the same time doing races for charitable causes they feel close to and ownership in; Jennifer Cultrera giving not only her free time to raise money for LLS but also working everyday for 14+ hours with the same people she’s raising money for. The same goes for Genna Beth Himelfarb, Kate Thompson, Megan Supernovich, Pete Amedure, Teresa Kurfiss, and on and on, all who give their time and training to eradicate a disease that affects us all at some point. Even outside of LLS though you have Beth Shaw swimming across Tampa Bay to raise money for the Navy Seals and then peddling 70 miles for Puppies, and Steph Garcia rallying troops to cooks meals at the Ronald McDonald House. Even my podcast heroes Vinnie Tortorich and Anna Vocino put out information on a free podcast in order to help those of us that have been struggling with weight for years, and Vinnie freely gives his time and attention to us when he sees a need. They don’t have to do this, yet they do it. I don’t always see eye to eye with everyone when it comes to fitness and health, but everyone above can tell you that when they are involved in a cause my wallet comes out, regardless of my financial situation. I always give. When it comes to giving back to those in need I think we are all on the same page, and it gives hope that good people are out here with people other than themselves in the forefront.
So Gene Simmons is a genius right? It doesn’t matter what racing bike racing bike you are using , or the brand of cycling gloves you prefer, or the fact that you run barefoot or use Hoka’s. The bottom line is that you are out there, and while challenging yourself to feats even three years ago you’d never thought you’d be able to accomplish, you are making a mark. No one may ever know your name, but that $2,000 you raised in 2011 may have been the $2,000 that caused a cure to be found, and that’s your mark. While I am not what anyone would call a spiritual person, I still want my presence here for whatever time I have left to have affected someone. Leave a mark.
And make that mark count …