#NoOffDays blog - Who Inspires Who?

May 21, 2014, 12:51 p.m. (ET)

As part of the #NoOffDays campaign, U.S. Men's National Team athlete Michael Barminski shares who inspires him to push through in the classroom and on the pitch. 

Training everyday at the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center is nothing short of a dream come true. You have an opportunity to do something you greatly love in an awesome area while surrounded by outstanding athletes. But, lately there hasn’t been much dreaming going on in my life, or more precisely, not much sleeping.

That’s because it’s midterm season at UC San Diego and being a junior means a lot of upper division course midterms. Your body is already physically fatigued everyday due to the 7 a.m. training sessions and fitness testing. Add mental fatigue and stress and you’ve got the makings of one rough midterm week. You begin to wonder where the little time you did have before went! It seems impossible to render all the information in the class leading up to this point. At the end of the week though, there is no better feeling of relief. The tests are done and no homework is assigned over the weekend.

So, due to my lack of school activities this weekend, I decided to volunteer as a ‘celebrity runner’ for the Celebration of Champions at Embarcadero Park in San Diego. The event is held by Rady’s Childrens Hospital for kids who; currently have cancer, had cancer and survived, as well as, honoring those that have passed away due to cancer. It was an emotional place and time, but it was all worth it to run some laps along side kids who were diagnosed, as the whole crowd cheered them on and their faces lit up in smiles from the support. These kids are truly courageous and have given me inspiration and hope in life. I can’t even imagine what they have gone through already in their young lives. All I know is that it is something a lot harder than midterms, a lot harder than fitness testing and certainly a lot harder than my life will ever be. I will never be able to repay them for enlightening me with their strength, their courage and most importantly their love.

This is Giselle. She was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 2. She is my new inspiration in life. Her high spirits and funky attitude captured my heart. She danced all over in her purple dress, she let me hold 'pumpkin' her fluffy dog and when she posed to take a picture she grabbed my hand firmly and hugged my leg with all her might. In that moment...I had never felt so small and so happy.

- Michael Barminski